Bahjat Shariff was born in war-torn Lebanon. He left his country and family behind when he was 18, and with 300 in his pocket arrived in Los Angeles, where he would enroll in Citrus College.

Bahjat, who continues our “Bridge to the Future” series, has been recognized by the New England Patriots for his charitable work, raised a family, and currently is the operating partner and Senior Vice President of Operations for Howley Bread Group, a franchised chain of more than 20 Panera Bread Restaurants. Our series, “Bridge to the Future,” is meant to highlight the tremendous contributions of first-generation immigrants to the United States.

Bahjat joins Frank on this edition of The Open Forum on AM 1540 WADK Newport.

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Ryan Belmore has been the Owner & Publisher of What's Up Newp since 2012. He also currently works for Mountain News, where he serves as Senior Editor - North America for OnTheSnow. He previously worked for the New England Patriots and American Cancer Society. He currently serves as Vice President of Fort Adams Trust and is a member of Local Independent Online News (LION) Publishers and North American Snowsports Journalists Association (NASJA).