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Shining World Honesty Award: Dave Tally, Model Citizen of Tempe, Arizona, USA    
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Everywhere in the world, we can observe and be touched by acts of kindness. People from all walks of life, faiths, and cultures extend themselves beyond the call of duty to help others unconditionally. Through their noble deeds, humanity as a whole is elevated.

To commend virtuous actions and encourage more people to be inspired by their examples, Supreme Master Ching Hai has lovingly created a series of awards, including the Shining World Leadership Award, Shining World Compassion Award, Shining World Hero and Heroine Awards, Shining World Honesty Award, Shining World Protection Award, Shining World Intelligence Award, and Shining World Inventor Award, to recognize some of the most exemplary, generous, caring, and courageous people who walk amongst us.

Today, we’ll meet a recipient of the Shining World Honesty Award, which was created by Supreme Master Ching Hai to honor exemplary acts of moral integrity. Throughout the years, Supreme Master Ching Hai has taught the importance of being truthful to oneself and others, as during a 1992 lecture in Formosa (Taiwan).

We might hide in a corner of the world, but we cannot hide from our conscience.

There is nowhere to run! We can only hide within our virtue and our spirit of honesty, then we are safe. No matter what people say, we are not afraid and we don't care because we know ourselves.

Mr. Dave Tally of Arizona, USA used to be a supervisor of a landscape firm. But in 1999, due to a drunk driving incident, his driver’s license was suspended. Alcoholism had turned his life upside down.

I got involved heavily into alcohol. I lost my career, my house, my marriage, due to alcoholism. I had been so burnt out for eight years, I’d gotten involved with drugs. . I decided, “I am done. I’m just done messing around with anything. I just want to get on with a good life.” I’m the one that ultimately has to lay down every night with myself and deal with my actions.

Mr. Tally had lost a lot in life. But what he kept were his moral values and his thoughtfulness for others, admirable assets that would prove to be very rewarding after one fateful day.

It was pretty early in the morning, about 7 o’clock, and I went to the light-rail station and discovered a backpack sitting on the bench. there was nobody around. I went over to it and I opened up and see if there was any ID in there. when I opened it up, there was a laptop, an envelope containing a large amount of cash, and an iPod.

When I got a hold of my boss here at homeless shelter, I told him what was going on and he said, “What do you want to do with it?” I said, “I don’t want it, it’s not mine.” so we brought it down here and they looked through it – executive director, general manager, the manager of the shelter – they all looked through it. They didn’t find anything to start with, so they kept it here in the safe and they kept looking to see if there was anything. They called the police to see if anybody made a report for it.

When he discovered the backpack, Dave Tally was homeless, in debt, and had just spent the last of his money to fix his mountain bike, his only means for transportation. Many have asked him why he did not choose to keep the US$3,300, an amount larger than a monthly income for most people.

I’m human, I’m broke. Of course I felt like spending money, but I didn’t.

It was kind of like God reached down and smacked me across the back of the head and said, “Be a man.” Actually for me, it was it was kind of like funny. Because when I did it, I felt good, and I also felt really scared when I turned the money over because I didn’t know if I did the right thing. That’s a lot of money to just hand over to someone else, you know? That whole week after I handed it over, I felt really, really bad for even the temptation of spending it.

Days went by, but the shelter received no report for the found items. The people at the shelter again looked through the backpack in hopes of finding any signs that would lead them to its rightful owner. Lo and behold, they found a flash drive containing the résumé of Bryan Belanger. An email and four days later, the Arizona State University student was gratefully reunited with his lost backpack and valuables within.

He was just sidetracked and left his backpack and I am very happy that he got it back. I’m very happy that he was able to get on with his life. He was a nice young kid. He just made a simple mistake, and luckily that mistake didn’t cost him a lot of hard work, so it turned out pretty cool.

The following week, Bryan’s parents called “The Arizona Republic” newspaper to share the story.

I’d been working part-time with one gentleman from one of our churches in Phoenix and I was on my way back to the homeless shelter, and my boss from the shelter called me up and asked me if I’d read a paper yet. I had said at the bus stop, “No.” He just laughed at me. “Well, you need to get over to the shelter, we need to talk to you real quick.” I had no idea what was going on. I came around the corner to the shelter and there were four media vans out front. I’m like… And my boss was actually laughing, “I think they want to talk to you inside.”

At first I couldn’t understand why everything, all this attention was paid to me. I was like, “I just turned in a backpack, what’s the big deal?” I hadn’t seen the news in quite a long time. And we were watching the news and it kind of dawned on me then why so many people kind of taking an interest in the story. I mean, the whole time we were sitting here – about 20 minutes – not one positive thing was on the news. So then it kind of struck me as why some people were taking an interest in this, at what I did.

Yes, I think a lot of people were inspired by it.

Word of Mr. Tally’s good deed spread quickly. Many people who were touched by Mr. Tally’s actions have also reached out, offering financial aid, housing, and jobs.

I know some people on the streets, they came up to me and said people are looking at them in a different light due to my actions. That’s totally cool. I mean, that to me it’s really important. People just need not judge everybody just because of their outside appearance. Then I actually got to meet Bryan He was a working student and the money was to be used to buy his car. He was able to get his car. So that’s when I actually was at ease with everything.

People call me a hero. I’m like, “No, I’m not a hero; I didn’t jump in a burning building.” But, I had some good people talk to me, “Well, you saved a guy’s life because that was the money he worked hard for to buy his car.” Apparently, like everybody else now, they keep their entire life on a laptop.

Yes, and the fact you put somebody’s life in front of your own, that’s what I think of as a hero.

I don’t know about all that.

You’re very humble.

For his noble action, Supreme Master Ching Hai honored Mr. Dave Tally with the Shining World Honesty Award, along with US$1,500 for any needs.

Dear Mr. Tally, It is with much pleasure and gratitude that we present to you the “Shining World Honesty Award.” This Award is presented in recognition of your exemplary principles, excellence and nobility of the highest order that brightens our world, leaving a glittering example of goodness for others to emulate. As a wanderer without a proper home you found a backpack at the railway station and with the purest intention, you opened it, hoping to trace the identity of the owner. To your surprise you found a laptop computer and cash worth $3,300.

“Temptation soon entered your thoughts as the money could be of great use to you, but due to your strong ethics and nobility you had no problem in deciding what to do. You reported the find to the authorities who located the owner Mr. Belanger, who was so overwhelmed with gratitude that he was lost for words. He had given up hope after losing the bag for 5 days. Indeed miracles do happen and we sincerely thank you, Mr. Tally, for your thoughtful demonstration of integrity and kindness!

You are a shining inspiration to our world and truly deserve all the praises and gifts sent by well-wishers! May Heaven’s immense blessings be showered upon you enabling you to find peace, happiness and all the things that you wish for!”

For your utmost sincerity to uphold the highest moral standards of humanity, for your love and strength, and for being a dedicated and noble role model, we hereby applaud and celebrate the shining honest deeds of Mr. Dave Tally – model citizen of Tempe! With Great Honor, Love and Blessings, Supreme Master Ching Hai

Cool, thank you.

Now we would like to present to you the Shining World Honesty Award. From Supreme Master Ching Hai, for Mr. Dave Tally. In recognition of highest moral integrity and noble hearted goodness, providing the purest example of right action, putting another’s need before your own. With greatest respect and admiration for your magnificent altruism and model citizenship. Presented by the Supreme Master Ching Hai International Association. Congratulations!

Thank you. It’s beautiful. And it weighs a ton!

On his new path of auspicious beginnings, the humble Shining World Honesty Award laureate commented.

I’m being given a second chance in life to manage my life properly now and I’ve got a great support team behind me.

We asked how Dave Tally’s life has changed.

So many things, my smile. I have a wonderful smile now, which I haven’t had in years and years. It’s taken me a lot to learn to smile, but it’s cool. I have my own apartment, I have a wonderful job and my job is coordinating a community garden here at the senior center. We have a great core of volunteers that come out every weekend and put their heart and soul into our garden.

I literally wake up every day looking forward to coming here and going out and being a part of it. I made some valuable friends who helped me make some right decisions, how to handle some of the finances. I furnished my apartment very nicely. I love my apartment. I found a beautiful little place and couldn’t be happier with it.

Ah good.

And the cool thing is that I’m right down the street from one of the churches I slept outside at. So every day on my way to work I can look over my shoulder and it reminds me of where I was, at one point in my life and where I’m not going to be again.

Indeed, Dave Tally is an admirable proof that good deeds do pay off.

I know that too many things have been going good for me, being able to work part-time; I have been almost a year now sober, or clean, rather. Since the day I made that final commitment for that, it’s just everything has just rapidly progressed. And this happening is just a phenomenal thing; all the media attention, going from a quiet person that I was, to having their life put on the international media, it was pretty staggering.

The rewards that have come too have just been phenomenal, it’s unbelievable. Meeting people like you, meeting people like in our gardening volunteers today, now I wouldn’t have been able to meet these people if it hadn’t have been for the actions that happened.

I can’t explain it, but I definitely think there’s some form of connection though. How things can happen like that? They’re not just by chance.

Mr. Dave Tally took the opportunity to express his thankfulness to Supreme Master Ching Hai.

Thank you very much for everything. I’m very touched, very touched. Thank you.

Our appreciation and congratulations, Mr. Dave Tally, for maintaining your upright morals and being a fine role model to other citizens. May you be blessed with evermore joy and abundance in your new chapter of life.

Wonderful viewers, it was a pleasure having your company on today’s program. Up next is Words of Wisdom, after Noteworthy News, here on Supreme Master Television. May benevolence and virtue be your cherished guides.
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