Posted by: reformedmusings | March 6, 2014

Paying it forward – from the mouths of babes

Speaks for itself:

It’s easy to criticize the media when the get it wrong, as they often do, but we must be willing to cheer them when they get it right. CBS’ Steve Hartman nailed this story, telling it perfectly by letting the participants do the talking and tying it together nicely.

The greatest honors come from the heart and arrive totally unexpected.

One of my strongest and most cherished memories from over 30 years of service came right after the barbarianism of 9/11. Many of us who had served a lot of years felt like our job was to prevent such a terrorist attack from ever happening and that we had failed. The magnitude of that failure played out on TV constantly that week.

Every week for about a year before 9/11/2001, usually on Fridays, I drove a little bit off of my usual path to the Produce Place of Suntree for fresh orange juice on my way home from work. That freshly squeezed juice came literally straight from the tree and I found it highly addicting. The taste of OJ that fresh varies significantly between the orchards and trees, and I thought the supplier for the Produce Place produced the finest OJ to my tastes. I still miss that freshness. By 9/11/2001, since I had been coming to the market for about a year, they knew me and were used to seeing me. Folks were very friendly, but nothing out of the ordinary.

The first time that I stopped at the market for my OJ after 9/11, the manager strode quickly and purposefully across that busy market and grabbed my hand to shake it. With tears in his eyes and a firm grip on my hand, he thanked me from deep in his heart for my service for our country. He caught me totally off guard and I didn’t know what to say. His heartfelt gesture deeply moved me. I think that I thanked him and said something like that it was an honor to serve, which, of course, it was. Those couple of seconds remain blurred by the emotional impact of the event. That memory will never leave me. The grateful manager paid it forward.

I accumulated a lot of ribbons and awards over 30 years, but the one that I wear every day in my heart is that Produce Place of Suntree Thank You for Your Service Award. I suspect that Lt Col Frank Dailey feels the same about that little green Post-It note from 8-year-old Myles Eckert, and how it came from deep in Myles heart.

Paying it forward makes an impact and changes lives.


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