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Miami banker gets standing ovation from Congress

President Barack Obama sought to wrap up his first speech to a joint session of Congress on an inspirational note with resonance in Miami:

"But in my life, I have also learned that hope is found in unlikely places; that inspiration often comes not from those with the most power or celebrity, but from the dreams and aspirations of ordinary Americans who are anything but ordinary.

"I think of Leonard Abess, a bank president from Miami who reportedly cashed out of his company, took a $60 million bonus, and gave it out to all 399 people who worked for him, plus another 72 who used to work for him. He didn't tell anyone, but when the local newspaper found out, he simply said, 'I knew some of these people since I was 7 years old. It didn't feel right getting the money myself.' "

The chamber rose to its feet in applause. Abess gave Obama a thumbs up.


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Sheri Kunz

I recorded the speech and when I saw Leonard abess's standing ovation...how surprised he looked when he turned and saw Congree on their feet toward him..he was humbled and surprised..I played it back about 6 times....it was such a moment.....the surprised look on his face..Thank You for faith restored Leonard!!!!!


Leonard Abess is truly a gift from God. This isn't the first time the Abess family has reached out to help their community/neighborhood. It's just the way they are. Good people.

God Bless you sir and I'm proud that you were so honored.

Cynical Idealist

He didn't need the money because he'd made plenty, on the backs of his employees and customers, over the years...

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