Sheldon Adelson Is A Role Model And American Hero

Ronn Torossian CEO, 5W Public Relations

MSNBC’s headline reads “2016 GOPers court pro-Israel donors at Sheldon Adelson’s unofficial primary,” while the Jewish Daily Forward is featuring an op-ed by Debbie Wasserman Schultz, chair of the Democratic National Committee, entitled Why GOP’s ‘Sheldon Adelson Primary’ Is Disgrace — and Won’t Lure Jewish Voters.”

In dozens of news outlets today, there are stories which largely attack, or mock the billionaire gaming mogul.

None of this news coverage will call Sheldon Adelson what he should be called – an American hero and role model. Americans of all political persuasions should say, “thank you Sheldon Adelson.”

Suffice it to say that the eigth richest man in the world, with a fortune of an estimated $36 billion dollars, who serves as chairman of the Las Vegas Sands Corporation, had a busy weekend as he served as host to approximately 800 mega-donors at the Republican Jewish Coalition’s spring meeting in Las Vegas. Attendees including Sen. Ted Cruz, Governor Rick Perry, and other 2016 presidential hopefuls pontificated on why they deserve the support of the Jewish community.

While politics is a major part of who he is, the lesser known tale is that the amount of money Adelson spends on politics is dwarfed by what he gives to charitable causes. This great philanthropist created with his wife (who is also his business partner), the Dr. Miriam and Sheldon Adelson Medical Research Foundation which is committed to a model of open and highly integrated collaborationamong outstanding investigators who participate in goal-directed basic and clinical research to prevent, reduce or eliminate disabling and life-threatening illness. From melanoma to bowel disease, they work endlessly through groundbreaking research to help so many people – of all backgrounds.

If America had more people as devoted to success as Adelson, we would be in a better place. Success is to be admired, not begrudged.  (Yes, he did build his business.)

Sheldon Adelson was born into a poor immigrant family, the son of a Boston cab driver – and lives every day by the principles his father instilled in him: “honesty and integrity.” He grew up sleeping in the same room as his whole family, and has noted he is “not a rags to riches story – because we couldn’t afford to buy rags.” These are the stories which inspire and epitomize the greatness of American opportunity.

Adelson made his billions challenging conventional wisdom – and won. In 1979 he developed the largest computer show in the world, Comdex. “Experts” said it would never be successful – he disagreed, and 15 years later sold his share for $500 Million Dollars. In 1989 he acquired the Sands Hotel & Casino, and in 1990 built the Sands Expo center. As he says, his dream came true as he succeeded in drawing millions of visitors to Las Vegas, attracting other exhibitions and succeeding beyond his wildest expectations. Adelson had to raise more than $1 billion, raze the hotel, plan a massive 13 million square foot project – and today shares of his company are worth nearly double that of his rivals Wynn and MGM — combined.

It’s not just in America Adelson thrives – his business exploded in Macau, the Chinese gambling city where once again analysts, bankers and others told him he couldn’t succeed. Adelson made back his initial $265 million investment in one year and has succeeded tremendously there.

Sheldon Adelson is often demonized for putting his money where his mouth is. Yet, that is the entrepreneurial spirit which built his business.

He is one of the largest taxpayers in America, an executive who employs tens of thousands, who controls a multi-billion dollar publicly traded company in which thousands of Americans invest. He is a great patriot – who has created wealth for many worldwide as he has taken risk and succeeded as an entrepreneur. His wife is his partner in life and business, and they support so many traditional causes, from free enterprise to American troops — he remembers his humble beginnings.

Sheldon Adelson is a great Jewish American. The richest Jew in the world, he admirably stands up and says the truth about what needs to be said, regardless of political correctness. His foundation gives more than $200 million to Jewish causes annually, and he reminds politicians and organizations of the tight bond between the great nations of America and Israel.

All that America should say to Sheldon Adelson, a self-made billionaire who grew up poor and today gives hundreds of millions of dollars a year to charity, is “thank you.” He is an inspiring entrepreneur who has shown what great wealth can accomplish.

As the owner of a PR Agency, I know that many philanthropists want everyone to know what they give – yet Adelson quietly helps so many vital causes, from melanoma research to healing drug addicts, from helping American veterans to educating children.

Sheldon Adelson is an American hero who should be celebrated for all he does. The man built himself up on his own, and is a tremendous philanthropist, humanitarian and executive. Thank you Sheldon Adelson.

Named 2014 PR Executive of the Year by the American Business Awards, Ronn Torossian is an entrepreneur and author – who does not represent Sheldon Adelson, although he admires successful entrepreneurs.