Syria, Iran and Israel could learn a lot from ‘Dr. Jay’

Published 11:10 am Tuesday, February 21, 2012

Our readers who are devoted fans of The Post-Searchlight have probably realized that our annual “Profile” edition will be coming out soon. I’m letting the cat out of the bag, so to speak, but I’d like to talk about one of the stories that will be included in this special section of the Wednesday, Feb. 29, edition of your newspaper.

I recently had the opportunity to sit down and talk with Dr. Jack H. “Jay” Leverett Jr., a local dentist, about his love of travel. Leverett has taken several extensive trips to Asia, Australia and other continents; some of those trips were for mission work, while others were just for fun.

Leverett told me that he took his first major trip in his college years, when he purchased an “around-the-world” ticket and explored the sights in several different countries. However, what really intrigued me about his story was the way that he traveled.

Rather than paying money for hostels or similar lodging, Leverett made friendships with the natives and was able to stay with them. Despite not being able to speak any languages other than English, he was able to connect with people from locations as far away as Fiji, Tibet and India.

When I asked him how he was able to connect with these foreign people, Leverett told me something I thought was quite profound. “People are people,” he said. “We all have the same goals and dreams. We want our families to be healthy and we want our children to be successful.”

All you have to do is switch on the local national news and it’s a nonstop barrage of international strife. Iran’s mad at Israel, Israel’s mad at Iran, Syria’s mad at its own citizens … it never seems to end.

Maybe we should send Dr. Jay Leverett to the Middle East as a diplomat. It seems like several countries there could learn a lot from him.

Justin Schuver is the managing editor of The Post-Searchlight. You can email him at justin.schuver@thepostsearchlight.com.