Tuesday, August 20, 2013

Most Initiatives Fail Without Committment

One day a chicken awoke and ran over to the pen where the pig was still fast asleep.  Mr. Pig, Mr. Pig,” cried the chicken. “Wake up, wake up.”

The pig yawned and quietly said, “Why did you wake me up so early?” 

The chicken replied “Today is a special day. Today is the farmer’s birthday.” Then the pig said, “What does that have to do with us?” “What does this have to do with us!" said the chicken?  I think we need to do something special for the farmer, like give him a present.           

A present! Why should we give the farmer a present?” the pig asked. "Look." the chicken replied.  “The farmer feeds us, shelters us, and takes care of us when we are sick. I think we owe it to him to give him a wonderful present.”

And what exactly do you think we should give the farmer for his birthday present?” asked the pig. The chicken responded “I thought we could make him breakfast.” “Breakfast?” said the pig. “Yes,” the chicken replied. 

The pig timidly asked the chicken “What is it that you recommend we make the farmer for breakfast?” The chicken answered, “bacon and eggs.”

The pig slowly turned away and said, “Count me out, Mrs. Chicken.” Why?” asked the chicken. “Well for you making breakfast will be easy; it will only require a very little amount of effort on your part -  just a little personal involvement.  However for me madam, it will require total commitment and quite frankly, I’m not ready to commit that much for the farmer.”

Sunday, August 4, 2013

The Marine Came In Last and Lost the Race

Lance Corporal Miles Kerr decided to enter a 5k (kilometer) race held during the 2013 Venetian Festival in Charlevoix, Michigan. A young 19 year old Marine, Miles decided  not to wear typical running shorts and shoes like everyone else in the race.  Instead Kerr opted to run in his combat boots while wearing his utes (utility uniform pants which most of us would know as camouflage fatigue pants).  He was so confident he could run the race, he decided to wear a fully loaded ruck sack on his back while in the race.

After several of his Marines buddies had crossed the finish line, Kerr was no where in sight. After all the other runners had finished the race, his buddies feared something might have happened to Miles.  Maybe he was injured or maybe he had to drop out of the race due to fatigue. Just moments before they assembled to run back through the course to search for their fellow Marine, Kerr came around the last turn.

Moving ever so slowly at his side was a small boy; a boy who had become separated from the other kids he started the race with.  Nervous and scared, the young boy turned to Corporal Kerr at the very beginning of the course and asked, “Sir? Will you please run with me?". Kerr slowed down his pace and ran at the boys side during the entire race. 

While at the boy's side throughout the race, he kept urging the young boy who wanted to give up - to keep going - not to stop running.  Yes, Kerr stayed with boy and ensured he finished the entire course.  When they arrived at the finish line, the young boy was immediately reunited with his party.

Its interesting to note that Lance Corporal Kerr was the last runner to cross the finish line.  Not only that, he had the worse time of all the runners in the race.  When asked why he ruined his chance to win this prestigious 5k race, he replied  "I was just doing what any man would do!"

According to the Seals of Honor Face Book Page ... "by Lance Corporal Kerr's unwavering commitment to help someone in need and give them inspiration reflect great credit upon him and help reflect the highest traditions of the United States Marine Corps."

Thursday, July 25, 2013

What Do You Do When You Go To Work?

One day a man was walking down Main Street when he noticed a construction site.  The construction firm had erected a large plywood fence around the entire site. Knowing that pedestrians would be curious, the firm cut large circles throughout the fence so people could peer in and see the progress taking place.  The man walked over to the fence, looked through one of the holes, and saw a bustle of activities taking place inside.

As he watched the activities, he saw a construction worker with a hard hat walk towards the fence then exit through a 'secret' gate cut in the fence. The construction worker did not properly close the gate so the man walk over, opened the gate, and went inside. 

He saw three bricklayers not far away and walked over towards them. He went over to the first bricklayer and said, Excuse me young man, what exactly are you doing?”

The young bricklayer looked up and replied, “What do you think I am doing? I’m laying bricks.”

I see,” replied the man.  

The man then walked over to the second bricklayer and asked, “Excuse me sir. What is it you’re doing?

The bricklayer never missed a beat; he didn't look up; he just kept on laying his bricks and said “What do you think I’m doing Buddy? I’m making $18.50 an hour.”

The man replied, I see.” 
 Finally, the man walked over to the third bricklayer and said, Pardon me sir, can you tell me what it is you are doing?”

The third bricklayer finished laying his brick, then put down his trowel, stood up, dusted off his knees, raised his hand and pointed to all the bricks he had just laid. He then looked the man square in the eyes and said, “I am hoping to create one of the most beautiful cathedrals this city will ever see.”

Now when you go to work each morning what exactly are you trying to accomplish? Do you go to work to lay a few bricks? Do go to work to earn a few dollars? Or do you go to work to create something you are personally proud of and something that will benefit others?  The choice as to what you do is totally up to you.

Thursday, July 11, 2013

Wanted to Share Some Great News I Received - Hope You Enjoy

Your blog post "How Local Government Decisions Are Really Made" was just featured on GovLoop  - Knowledge Network for Government....because it was awesome.

Keep up the awesome
- Steve

To see your blog post featured, visit:

Tuesday, July 9, 2013

Acres of Diamonds

Legend has it a young farmer and his family enjoyed a great life in Africa.  He had his health, a wonderful family, good friends, enough food and a life he enjoyed. 

One day a village elder stopped by his house to chat.  As they spoke, the elder talked about the wonders of diamonds; the power and riches they brought to any man who possessed them.  "Why, if you had only one diamond no bigger than the size of my thumb," the elder said, "you could buy this entire village. And if you had a diamond the size of my fist, you could own this country."

That night after the village elder left him, the young farmer tossed and turned in bed thinking of diamonds. When he awoke the next morning, he was sad because he didn't have any diamonds. Before the day was over, he made arrangements to sell his farm and send his family to live with relatives. When everything was settled, the next day he left his farm to go in search for diamonds.

He traveled all over south Africa - but found none; then to north Africa and still none.  Eventually he sailed to southern Europe, but no matter where he went - Italy, Greece, Spain - he found none. While in Spain, he found himself emotionally, physically and financially drained. 

So disheartened with how he wasted his wonderful life and his life-long savings, he decided the best thing to do was to climb a high mountain and jump into the Barcelona River, which he did.

The same day the young farmer committed suicide, the  man who bought his farm back in Africa was out watering his herd of cattle.  As the cows stood drinking in a small stream that ran through the farm, 
the rays of the early morning sun were shining on a stone on the west side of the shore. The stone sparkled like a rainbow.  Impressed by its look, the new farmer waded over and picked up the large rock. This stone was so beautiful he thought it would look perfect on the fireplace mantle. So when he arrived back home, he placed it on his mantle and smiled.

Later that evening the village elder stopped by to talk with the new farmer.  While in the house, the elder noticed the sparkling stone on the mantle.  He immediately asked if the old owner had returned.  "No, why do you ask?"

The elder replied, "Because of that beautiful diamond you have on your mantle."

The new farmer laughed and said, "You must be mistaken. That's not a diamond; its just a pretty stone I found along the  stream this morning. Come, I'll show you there are lots of stones just like this."  Together they went down to the stream and picked up dozens of stones lying on the ground. 

The Village elder said, "I can recognize a diamond  anytime I see one."  Then he asked if he could send a few samples to the big city for analysis. When the gemologist's report came back a few weeks later, it stated all the stones sent to him were high grade diamonds.

It turns out the new farmer purchased a farm littered with  diamonds - in fact acres of diamonds.  It was on this farm in the Mbuji-Mayi District of Zaire, the Democratic Republic of the Congo, that the Millenium Start - the largest diamond ever was discovered.

Always remember that there are diamonds all around - opportunities that can change our lives; however, most of us don't always recognize them.

Wednesday, July 3, 2013

What Ever Happend to the Men Who Signed the Declaration of Independance?

With the Fourth of July holiday tomorrow, it might be a good time to ask this question, Have you ever wondered what happened to the 56 men who signed the Declaration of Independence?

Here is what history tells us.
Five signers were captured by the British as traitors and tortured before they died.

Twelve had their homes ransacked and burned.

Two lost their sons serving in the Revolutionary Army; another had two sons captured.

Nine of the 56 fought and died from wounds or hardships of the Revolutionary War.

They signed and they pledged their lives, their fortunes, and their sacred honor.

What kind of men were they?

Twenty-four were lawyers and jurists.

Eleven were merchants.

Nine were farmers and large plantation owners.

They were men of means, well educated, but they signed the Declaration of Independence knowing full well that the penalty would be death if they were captured.

Carter Braxton of Virginia, a wealthy planter and trader, saw his ships swept from the seas by the British Navy.

He sold his home and properties to pay his debts, and died in rags.

Thomas McKeam was so hounded by the British that he was forced to move his family almost constantly.

He served in Congress without pay and his family was kept in hiding.  His possessions were taken from him and poverty was his reward.

Vandals or soldiers looted the properties of Dillery, Hall, Clymer, Walton, Gwinnett, Heyward, Ruttledge, and Middleton.

At the battle of Yorktown, Thomas Nelson, Jr., noted that the British General Cornwallis had taken over the Nelson home for his headquarters.  He quietly urged General George Washington to open fire.  The home was destroyed and Nelson died bankrupt.

Francis Lewis had his home and properties destroyed. The enemy jailed his wife, and she died within a few months.

John Hart was driven from his wife's bedside as she was dying. Their 13 children fled for their lives. His fields and his gristmill were laid to waste. For more than a year, he lived in forests and caves, returning home to find his wife dead and his children vanished.

So, take a few minutes while enjoying your 4th of July holiday and silently thank these patriots.  It's not much to ask for the price they paid.

Remember: The Freedom we enjoy wasn't free!

Monday, June 24, 2013

Who Gets the Chair?

During the late 1700's, few American colonists lived on big plantations.  Most eked out extremely meager existences in one-room wooden houses.  Because their houses were so small, family dining generally took place on a table pushed close against one wall.  The young children sat on a long wide board which folded down from the wall while the bigger children and wife sat on a rough sanded bench on the other side. 

Most households only had one chair which was generally very ornate in design.  During the day the wife would use this chair to tend to the children, crochet, knit or mend clothing. However, the chair was always reserved for the man of the house when it was time to eat.

Should a special guest be over when  a meal was served, that special guest was normally offered the chair to sit in while they ate their meal while the rest of the family, including the man of the house, would sit on the board attached to the wall or on the wooden bench.  Consequently, for someone to be asked to sit in the chair meant they were important - either an honored guest or perhaps someone in charge of something. 

The person to sit in the chair was commonly referred to as the 'Chair man' or 'Chair person'.  Today, this same expression or title is used in all levels of government - Federal, State and Local.  We use the word 'Chairman' or 'Chairperson' to signify who is in charge of our board and committee meetings in government.

Tuesday, June 11, 2013

Climbing the Corporate Ladder - - What's the purpose of it?

A large tourist ship dropped anchor off the shore of a tiny Greek island and several American tourists decided to go to shore. While on the island, the Americans were invited to enjoy a delicious lunch served by a local fisherman's family.   When lunch was finished, they asked, "How long did it take you to catch all these wonderful fish?"

"Not very long," was the reply.  
"Wow! That's wonderful.  Why don't you guys stay out longer and catch more fish?"  The fishermen explained their small catches were more than sufficient to meet both their needs and those of the occasional tourists such as us who drop by. 

"But what do you do with the rest of your time all day?" asked another American.  
"We sleep late, fish a little, play with our children, and take a long siesta with our wives.  In the afternoons, we have a little snack and lay on the beach and watch the waves.  Many times we go into the village and visit our friends or maybe we go to a local pub and drink a little Ouzo and dance the afternoon away.  In the evenings after supper, we go to a local tavern and play the bouzouki, drink a little more Ouzo and sing a few songs with our friends."

Another American tourist interrupted, 
"Well, I have an MBA from Harvard and I can help you.  You should start fishing longer each day. You can then sell the extra fish you catch and with the money you make, you can buy a bigger boat."

"And with a bigger boat, you can make even more money and you can buy a larger third boat, and fourth boat and so on until you have an entire fleet of new trawlers."

"Then, instead of selling your fish to a middle man at the local market, you can negotiate directly with the food processing plants on the mainland and in a few years, you can open your own food processing plant and distribution center.  With all the money you make, you can leave this little village and move to Athens and from there you can direct your huge new enterprise by cell phone and computer."
"How long would that take?" asked the Greek Fisherman
"Twenty, perhaps twenty-five years," replied the tourist.

"And after that, then what?"  asked the Greek Fisherman.
"After that my friend is when it really gets interesting," answered the American.  "When your business gets really big in about 25 years, you can start buying and selling stocks and make millions!"

"Millions?  Really?"  replied the fisherman.  "Yes and after that, then what?" asked the Greek fisherman.

"After that you will be able to sell off all your boats, properties and investments and retire.  You can move to a tiny village near the coast or perhaps to one of the beautiful islands where you can sleep late, play with your grandchildren, catch a few fish, take a siesta in the afternoon with your wives and spend days with your friends and your evenings drinking Ouzo and singing and dancing," said the American. 

Monday, June 3, 2013

The Secret to Success --- is simple!

One day, a young man approached Socrates ... the Great Greek Philosopher and asked, “Sir, I have come to seek your wisdom.  Will you help me?”
Socrates looked at the lad and replied, "How can I be of assistance son?
The young man responded, “Socrates, I want to be a great success. Will you teach me all I need to know so I can be a great success?”

Certainly, my son,” replied Socrates. “Walk with me”.  Socrates started to walk towards the sea. Once on the sand, Socrates continued walking right into the water as the young man followed. When they were both chest deep in the ocean, Socrates reached up placed his hands on the young man's head and pulled it down, forcing the young man's head under the water.

After about ten seconds, the young man fought his way to the surface and began to gasp for air. Socrates released the boy’s head, turned around and started to walk away.

The young man was appalled. He had traveled a great distance to meet with this scholar.  Socrates was a man of wisdom whom he admired and respected and all he did when he asked for the secret of success was to put his head under water. Never again, vowed the young man, would he seek the advice of Socrates.

Time, however as we know, has a way of healing wounds and after a week, the young man thought maybe he did something to upset Socrates. So back he went to visit the great scholar.  Again he beseeched Socrates to teach him all he needed to know to be a great success.

Socrates smiled and once again willingly agreed.  He asked the young man to follow him and again he began to walk toward the ocean.  Just like before, Socrates walked into the water and when the water was chest high, Socrates grabbed the young man by his head and dunked him under water.

This time, however, the young man was ready.  Before going under he took a big gulp of air and was able to hold his breath; almost for thirty seconds passed before he had to come up gasping for air. As he wiped the water from his eyes, he saw Socrates walking away.

Now the young man was furious. Twice he had asked this  scholar for the knowledge he needed to become a great success and twice Socrates took him to the ocean and dunked his head. Never, ever again would this young man return to Socrates and be insulted and humiliated.

Well, thirty days passed and the young man had a lot of time to reflect. He truly wanted to be a great success and decided to go see Socrates one final time. Upon arriving at Socrates’ home, he wrapped on the door. When Socrates appeared, the young man said, "I hope you remember me?
Socrates smiled and said, “Certainly, I do. You’re the young man who wants to be a great success.” Socrates once again started walking toward the ocean with the young man following in step.

This time the young man was extremely prepared; as soon as Socrates grabbed his head the young man took a deep swallow of air and held his breath for almost two minutes. When he finally surfaced gasping for air, Socrates was already back on the shore walking back home.

The young man, now livid, ran after Socrates.  When he was a few feet from Socrates he shouted, “Socrates, why is it every time I come to you and ask for wisdom on how to be a great success all you do is walk me out into the ocean and dunk my head under the water?”

Socrates turned around - faced the boy and said, “Young man, three times now I have tried to teach you the secret to be a success.  The secret is simple: When you want to succeed as much as you want to breathe, I assure you you will be a great success.”

Wednesday, May 22, 2013

Quitters Never Win

This is an old story which I hope you enjoy and find of value.

When things go wrong, as they sometimes will,
When the road you're traveling seems all uphill,
When funds are low and debts are high,
When you want to smile, but can only cry,
When life is pressing you down a bit,
Rest if you must ... but please don't quit.

Life is strange with its twists and turns,
As every individual eventually learns.
And many a person has turned about
When they might have won had they stuck it out.
Don't give up when the pace gets slow;
You might succeed with just another blow.

Often strugglers will quit and give up
When they might have captured the Victor's cup.
Then they learn when the sun goes down,
How close they were to the golden crown.

Success is failure turned inside out -
So stick to fight when you're hardest hit,
It's when things seem worst, you mustn't quit.

Monday, May 20, 2013

Memorial Day Will Be Here Soon

Please take a moment to look at this picture.

The only person standing as "Old Glory" comes down the street is ...

The old man in the wheel chair.

Wednesday, May 1, 2013

The County / City Administrator's (Managers's) Story

It's not the County (or the City) Administrator's/Manager's place to run the train and the whistle he or she cannot blow;

It's not in his or her place to say how far the train is allowed to go.

It's not the County (or City) Administrator's/Manager's place to shoot off any steam; or even cling the bell;

But should the damn thing jump the track, just see who catches hell.

Monday, April 15, 2013

Thomas Edison's Light Bulb Test

Thomas Edison, the inventor of the incandescent bulb, was an incessant inventor.   When he needed to expand his staff, he  employed an unusual technique for interviewing the engineers for positions on his staff.  Every prospective  applicant who came in for an interview was handed a light bulb.  Edison then asked the engineer to determine the exact amount of water the bulb could hold.

Edison knew very well that there were two basic ways an applicant could determine the correct answer to his question.

The first, was to apply several engineering gauges and mathematical protractors to each of the complex angles of the glass bulb. Then, using a slide ruler and applying basic logarithmic formulas, the applicant could calculate the inside surface area of the light bulb which would allow him to determine the total volume of the glass bulb. This approach would take an experienced engineering applicant approximately twenty minutes to solve the answer.

The second method an applicant could use to find the answer was to remove the brass base from the bulb and then fill the bulb with water.   Once the bulb was filled with water, its contents could easily be poured into a measuring cup or laboratory beaker mug to determine the exact amount of water it could hold.   This method generally took less than two minutes.

Nearly all the engineers who used the first method to calculate the volume of water a light bulb could hold were politely thanked for their time and sent on their way. However, the applicants who used the second method were greeted warmly by Mr. Edison who asked, "When can you start?"

Tuesday, April 2, 2013

The Boulder in the Road

Once upon a time there was a King who controlled a large kingdom.  One night when it was very dark, he had a large boulder placed in the center of one of the major roadways.  The King awoke early the next morning and hid in the trees alongside the road.  He wanted to watch what people would do when they came upon the large rock blocking their path.

The first to come down the road were the wealthy merchants and courtiers of the King's court who were going to work.  When they saw the large rock blocking their path, they all  stopped to complain loudly but did nothing to move the rock.

They blamed the King for not taking care of the roads for which they all paid taxes to have maintained. They felt the King was negligent in not keeping the roads clear.  When they were done complaining, they walked around the boulder and went on their way.

An hour passed and along came a peasant carrying a large basket of vegetables he was taking to the to market to sell. When he approached the boulder, he laid down his basket and tried desperately to move the large rock out of the way.  Unable to move the stone, he walked into the woods and found a large piece of wood which he could use as a lever.  After much straining, he and his lever succeeded in rolling the boulder out of the way and to the side of the road. 

When he turned to pick up his basket of vegetables, he noticed a beautiful silk purse lying in the center of the road where the boulder had been. Upon opening the purse, he saw 50 gold coins and a handwritten note signed by the King.   T
he King's note indicated the 50 gold coins were a reward for the person or persons who removed the boulder from the roadway.

It was the King's hope to teach his subjects a valuable lesson.  Those who do something good for the community where they live, such as removing obstacles or improving the conditions for others, are always rewarded for their efforts in the end.

Monday, March 18, 2013

Are You Cutting Ham or Making a Difference?

It was Christmas Day and Suzie's Mother arose early to start the holiday meal.  Suzy heard Mom in the kitchen and ran down to join her.  As Suzy watched, Mom took a large ham from the refrigerator, unwrapped it, and placed it on a cutting board.  She then took a knife and cut a thick slice off each end of the ham.

"Why did you do that, Mom?" Suzy asked. 

"Do what?" Mom replied. 

"Cut those slices off the ends of the ham", Suzy commented.

"Well dear, I learned that from my Mother." Every Christmas my mother cut thick slices off the ends of her ham and she would save them for later.  

"Why?" Suzy asked.  

"I don't know.  It was just a family tradition I guess", Mom said.

A few hours later Grandma arrived.  Suzy walked over and said, "Grandma, this morning I watched Mommy prepare the ham and Mom cut thick slices off the ends of the ham.  When I asked her why, she said because that’s the way you always made a ham."

"Well Suzy", Grandma said.  "When I was a little girl just like you, I would watch my Mother make the holiday dinner and the first thing she always did was cut thick slices off the ends of the Christmas ham.  She did that every Christmas, so it was only natural that I kept up this special family tradition; and now, thank goodness, your Mother is keeping up this wonderful tradition.  Just think, when you get older you can keep up this family tradition as well."

Later that afternoon, Great Grandma arrived.  Once she was comfortably seated on the couch, Suzy sat next to her and commented, "Great Grandma, this morning I watched Mom prepare the Christmas ham and she cut a thick slice off from each end of the ham because that was the way Grandma made her Christmas ham.  When I asked Grandma why she cut slices off the ends of the ham she said because you always cut thick slices off the ends of your Christmas hams. Why do we have this family tradition?"

"Well Suzy", Great Grandma began, "Mommy and Grandma might have gotten this a little wrong.  Yes, I always did cut a thick slice off each end of our Christmas ham but that was not any special family tradition.  You see, when your Great Grandfather and I first got married, we were very poor and all we could afford was a small stove.  The only way I could fit a Christmas ham in our small oven was to cut off thick slices from each end."

The New Year is now in full swing and March is the perfect time to review all your existing business practices, organizational policies and family rules. Are they really necessary, or are you just cutting ham?

For more great ideas, just visit Pearls of Wisdom

Friday, March 8, 2013

The Trail Ride

An old cowboy was riding his horse down an unfamiliar trail with his faithful dog, Butch, walking along side.  The cowboy was enjoying the day when all of a sudden he remembered being shot in an ambush a way back.  He looked down and realized Butch, who was walking beside him, had died several years earlier as did his horse, Champ, the one he was now riding.  Confused, he wondered where he was riding to on this unfamiliar trail.  


Around a bend he saw a high, white marble wall.  Down the trail a piece, he saw a large golden gate in the wall that was topped with a huge golden letter "H" that sparkled in the sunlight.   As he rode closer, he saw magnificent streets inside the gate.  Some were painted gold and others were paved with mother of pearl.  As he continued looking inside, he saw a man sitting under a tree.  Parched and plum tuckered out from his trail ride he called out,  "Excuse me Mister.  Where are we?'' 

"Why this is Heaven", the man answered. 

"Wow!" said the cowboy.  "Would you happen to have some water inside?"  

"Of course we do partner", said the old man.  "Come on in, and I’ll pour you a tall glass." 

As the golden gate began to open, the cowboy and his dog and horse started to enter when the man inside jumped up and shouted, "Sorry fella.  "We don't allow animals in here." 

The cowboy thought for a moment, then pulled back on the reins and turned his horse back towards the road.  "Come on Butch, let’s go.   Thanks Mister, but we’ll be getting along." Then the cowboy, Champ and Butch continued down the trail. 

After a very long trail ride, the cowboy was coming down a steep hill and noticed a wooden fence with an open gate.  As he approached the gate, the cowboy saw a man sitting under a tree reading a book.   "Excuse me Mister", he called to the man.  "Do you have any water?'' 

"Sure do.  There's a pump right over there.  Go help yourself to all you want."  

"How about my friends?" the cowboy asked. 

"Why of course!  They look thirsty too; bring em on in", said the man

The trio went through the gate and headed straight to the old-fashioned hand pump.   There were buckets beside the pump and the cowboy got down from his horse, pumped the handle and filled two buckets with wonderfully cool water.  He put one down for his horse and the other for his dog.   He then picked up a tin cup, pumped the cup full and took a drink. When all three had quenched their thirst, the cowboy walked over to the man who was sitting under the tree.  "What do you call this place here?" asked the cowboy. 

"Why this is Heaven", the man answered.

"Heaven?  Now ain’t that confusing? The other man down the trail a piece by that big white marble wall said that was Heaven."  

''Oh, you mean the place with the cheap glitzy paint and fake mother of pearl streets?" the old man replied

"Yeah", said the cowboy.  

"No son, that was Hell", said the old man.

The cowboy pushed his hat back so it titled up and said, "Well now, doesn’t that make you angry when those folks down there use your name like that?" 

"No, not really", said the old man.  "We’re kind of happy they are down there." 

"You are? Why?" asked the cowboy. 

"Well, to tell you the truth," the old man replied, "They do a good job screening out the folks who’d leave their friends behind just so they could get a drink of water for themselves."

Thursday, February 21, 2013

Enthusiasm vs. Experience

One day a US Air Force C-141 cargo plane was lumbering across the sky over the Pacific Ocean.  It was on its way to a remote Air Force Base in the Philippines.  A small jet fighter aircraft came from out of nowhere, streaking across the sky.  The young jet jockey wanted to show off his flying skills for his cargo hauling colleagues.

The young pilot, came on the radio and said to the transport pilot, "Watch this!" 

Immediately, the jet went into a steep climb, soaring up several thousand feet - then it nosed down and did a series of spectacular barrel rolls. After leveling off in front of the cargo plane, the pilot ignited his afterburners and shot across the horizon creating a loud sonic boom.  When he finally returned alongside the transport he asked, "Well, what did you think of that?"

The C-141 pilot said, "Very impressive." 

"Well old man, show me what you can do with that garbage bucket you are flying."

"Okay, watch this", said the cargo pilot!  

The jet jockey tried his best to maintain his air speed alongside the cargo plane and waited. For over eight minutes, the cargo plane rambled along with nothing happening.  Then the pilot came on the air and said, "Well son, what did you think of that?"

Puzzled, the young Lieutenant asked, "What the heck did you do?"

The seasoned MAC pilot said, "Well, let’s see.  First, I took off my seat harness; then I stood up, stretched my legs, walked to the back of the plane, said hi to all the crew members, picked up an updated weather forecast, went to the latrine, washed my face, combed my hair, poured a cup of coffee and picked up a cinnamon roll in the galley. 

I made it back to the cockpit am now seated back behind the controls enjoying a cup of coffee and a delicious roll."

The moral to this story, which I believe every young employee and aspiring leader should remember, is:

When one is young and inexperienced - speed and flash are the preferred methods to get a job done; however, as one matures and acquires wisdom - comfort and dullness are generally the best way to perform most jobs.

Monday, February 11, 2013

The Vietnam Memorial Wall

Received this information from an old Air Force buddy. Although it is not an actual story, it shares a powerful story we should all read and remember - for it contains a history lesson and unbelievable interesting statistics regarding the Vietnam Memorial Wall most people don’t even know.

There are 58,267 names now listed on that polished black wall, including those added in 2010.

The names are arranged in the order in which each service member was taken from us by date. Within each date, the names are all alphabetized.

The first known casualty was Richard B. Fitzgibbon, of North Weymouth, Mass.  He is listed by the U.S. Department of Defense as having been killed on June 8, 1956.  His name is listed on the Wall with that of his son, Marine Corps Lance Cpl. Richard B. Fitzgibbon III, who was killed on September 7, 1965.

It is interesting to note that there are three sets of fathers and sons on the 'Wall'.

What is amazing is that 39,996 on the Wall were just 22 years old or younger and 
8,283 were just 19 years old. The largest age group of 33,103 were 18 years old.  
12 names on the Wall were 17 years old and though it is hard to believe five were just 16 years old. One soldier, PFC Dan Bullock, was only 15 years old.

997 names on the wall were killed on their first day in Vietnam and 1,448 soldiers were killed on their last day in Vietnam.

There are 31 sets of brothers are on the Wall.

There are also 31 sets of parents lost two of their sons.

54 men attended Thomas Edison High School in Philadelphia.  (I wonder why so many were from one school?)

8 women are on the Wall, all nurses, who were tending to the wounded.

244 military personnel names were awarded the Medal of Honor during the Vietnam War; 153 of them are listed on the Wall.

Beallsville, Ohio, with a population of 475, lost 6 of her sons.

West Virginia had the highest casualty rate per capita in the nation. There are 711 West Virginians on the Wall.

And don't forget about "The Marines of Morenci" They led some of the scrappiest high school football and basketball teams that the little Arizona copper town of Morenci (pop. 5,058) had ever known.  After the games they enjoyed roaring beer busts.  In quieter moments, they rode horses along the Coronado Trail and stalked deer in the Apache National Forest.   In the patriotic camaraderie typical of Morenci's families, the nine graduates of Morenci High enlisted together as a group in the US Marine Corps. Their service began on Independence Day, 1966 however only three returned home.

The Buddies of Midvale - Leroy Tafoya, Jimmy Martinez, Tom Gonzales, were all boyhood friends and lived on three consecutive streets in Midvale, Utah, on Fifth, Sixth and Seventh Avenues.  They lived only a few yards apart and played ball at the adjacent sandlot ball field.  And they all went to Vietnam.  In a span of 16 dark days in late 1967, all three were killed.  Leroy was died on Wednesday, November 22, the fourth anniversary of John F. Kennedy's assassination.  Jimmy died less than 24 hours later on Thanksgiving Day.  Tom was shot dead assaulting the enemy on December 7, Pearl Harbor Remembrance Day.

The most casualty deaths for a single day in Viet Nam was on January 31, 1968 ~ 245 deaths.

The most casualty deaths for a single month was May 1968 - 2,415 casualties were incurred.

Most Americans who read this, will only see the numbers the Vietnam War created.  For those of us who survived the war and to the families of those who did not, we see the faces and feel the pain these numbers created. We are, until we pass away, haunted with these numbers. These were our friends, our fathers, our husbands, our wives, our sons and our daughters. 

Never forget - there are no noble wars, just noble warriors.

Please pass this on to your family and friends, especially all those who served or grew up during this time.

Friday, January 25, 2013

Can You Really Make a Difference?

A young couple from Oregon decided to go to Spain for their honeymoon.  They had an extremely long day and their  flight arrived late at night.  Exhausted from their travel, they immediately checked into their hotel and went directly to bed.

During the night a violent storm erupted.  When they awoke the next day, they had their coffee on the balcony.  Below they saw the terrible damage the storm caused during the night.  The husband suggested they get dressed and walk along the beach.

As they walked down the beach, they saw damaged palm trees and enormous amounts of debris strewn all over; however, the one thing that amazed them most were the hundreds of sea creatures that had been washed up on the shore.

As they continued their walk, they noticed in the distance a man dancing.  As they got closer to him, they realized he wasn’t dancing; rather he was bending over and picking up starfish which he then tossed back into the sea.

As the young couple approached him, the young groom asked, "Excuse me sir, what are you doing?" 
The elderly Spaniard replied, "Last night, as you can see, there was a terrible storm and all these starfish were cast up on the shore. It’s early now, 7:00 am, but by 10:00 am when the sun is high in the sky, these starfish will all die unless they are put back into the ocean."

The young man looked back down the beach, then up the beach.  There were literally thousands of starfish on the sand.  He looked back at the old Spaniard and said "Senor, there is no way you are going to get all these starfish back in the ocean in the next few hours." 

The old man bent down, picked up another starfish, threw it back into the ocean and said, "I know." 
"Then why in the world are you doing this if you know it won't make a difference?" asked the groom.

The old man stooped down, picked up another starfish and tossed it back into the ocean.  Then he turned to the young groom, smiled and said, "Because I know it definitely made a difference for that one."