Tuesday, January 31, 2012

Hope for parents

They appointed him fire marshal his senior year at Denver City High School.  That's Denver City, Texas.

This job came with enormous responsibility and authority.

It was his job to teach fire safety.  To practice fire safety.  To ensure the school was prepared in case of fire.

He was required to choose six deputy fire marshals.  Six trusted students who would take their jobs as solemnly and seriously as he took his job.

Shortly after his appointment and the deputization of six of his closest friends, it occurred to him that the school needed an all-out fire drill to test the building, the students and the staff for readiness.

So he rang the fire alarm.

Correctly ordered all students and faculty and staff to exit the school orderly and safely.

Once the building was emptied, he and his deputies did as they were supposed to do.  They locked all the doors so that no one could re-enter and be injured should there be an actual fire.

It was snowing that day in Denver City.  Snowing and windy.

After a few minutes, the principal began banging on the door and yelling at the fire marshal to let everyone back in.

Through the door crack, the fire marshal yelled, "Hang on.  Just need to check a few more hallways and make sure everything's clear."

Forty-five minutes later, the doors were unlocked and the shivering school body went back to class.

The fire marshal was relieved of his duties the next day.  News is sketchy as to what happened to his deputies, but it is believed they too may have lost their appointments.

The fire marshal is today a successful businessman, loving husband, devoted father and the chairman of the deacons at one of the largest churches in the world.

Saturday, January 21, 2012

Veteran's Ink

So, you want to show support for men and women that have served in our military?

No, really, do you?

If you don't really want to, that's ok.

If you do really want to, keep reading.

There is a company called Veteran's Ink.  Here is their website  www.veteransink.com

The company is owned by veterans.  The company only employs veterans.

The founder is Patrick Sowers.  I know him. I've worked with him.  He is an Iraq War vet. 

Veteran's Ink sells something you should be buying anyway.  Ink at prices way less expensive than retail.  (Did you know that 80% of Hewlett Packard's profits come from selling ink?)

They also are experts in helping companies and organizations manage printing equipment.  Nationwide. 

So, if you, your organization, your company, your family, your synagogue, your church, your bank, your city, your mosque, your whatever buys ink and prints stuff, why wouldn't you call or email Patrick and see what Veteran's Ink can do?

You might save alot of money, and in the meantime, create a job for someone that has willingly sacrificed their life for you. 

Please pass this along.  The unemployment rate amongst Iraq and Afghanistan vets is over 12% and growing.  This is the kind of thing we can do to reduce that number without any government help. 

Email this to the person at your company that buys ink.  Send it to your vendors and suggest they think about it.  Email it to all your friends.

Thanks for what you already do, and thanks in advance for helping Veteran's Ink continue to make a difference.

Sunday, January 15, 2012

The price of freedom

I sat next to four gentleman in their 60s today.  They were loud talkers.

They were opining about the Marines in Afghanistan that appear to have made some unfortunate decisions.

Their conversation took them into a discussion of the mindset of today's American military.

They took a number of different views.

Some expressed empathy with soldiers dealing with incomprehensible difficulties.

Some considered all folks in the military to be dumbasses.

These were comfortable men.  Wealthy men.

None ever wore the cloth of the nation.

I could have just left them alone.

But, I didn't.  I couldn't. 

On my way past them, I offered them a thought.

Their conversation wasn't theoretical.  The people they were empathizing with or complaining about were real.  

I told them to keep talking.  But I wanted to remind them that they were talking about people as real as them, their kids, their neighbors.  I didn't disagree with them. I didn't agree with them.   I didn't have any answers.  I just wanted them to know there are very real Americans that are doing a very difficult job on their behalf out of love of country.

Three of them shook my hand and shook their heads in disbelief.

They said thank you.  They said, "I'm sorry."  They said they appreciated the reality check.

But one of them was different.

He ignored me.  He did not offer a handshake.  He blew me off.

And with his actions, he blew off all the folks that serve and protect our country at the behest of our Commanders in Chief.

I've come to accept him and those like him.  I don't understand him, but I don't have to.  It is his right to not give a damn.

I'm just glad that his type isn't the majority.  Yet.

I'm more proud of the people I know that are in harms way tonight to protect his point of view.

It isn't the fault of the military.  It is the fault of politicians.

When our country sends folks to war, they ought to do a better job of getting the citizenry to be supportive.

It is scary to think of our all volunteer military being at the beck and call of a politician without the support of the American people.