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Chief's Corner - week of Jan. 15

SCHRIEVER AIR FORCE BASE, Colo. -- Reflect for the future

An opportunity arose in November for a small team of Schriever NCOs visited some of our outstanding Americans at the Bruce McCandless State Veterans Home in Florence, Colorado.  The experience is always rewarding-- getting to hear the stories and experiences of our great veterans and what it was like to walk in their shoes more than 50 years ago fighting for freedom and sacrificing so much to do so.

One veteran who particularly stood out was 95-year-old John who fought in World War II.  During the conversation, John pulled out two photographs from his pocket, one of him in his naval uniform and one of his family.  He was extremely proud of both--these seemed to be the two most important things in his life.  His eyes brightened as he described his time in the Navy and the friends he made serving his country and how they took care of each other during those trying times of world history.  The other part of the conversation focused on his family and how proud he is of his children. 

It was an honor to listen and talk with John that day and I was humbled to have had the opportunity to hear about John's life--his story, a veteran's story.  It made me think about my experiences in the Air Force, in particular the piece about taking care of each other.  As I was saying goodbye, John said "Thank you for your service and watch out you'll be in here soon." I thought about what John said driving home.  Time goes fast and as we get older it seems to speed up and opportunities to make a difference can sometimes escape us. 

As 2014 ended and everyone reflects on the year, what are you proud of in that small snapshot of time?  What is your story?  Have you helped someone or listened to someone to make a difference in their lives?  Did you make time for your Airmen?  Have you made someone better personally or professionally?  John made me better and opened my life aperture and reminded me what is really important.    We all serve our Air Force, our country, families and friends--to what degree we do that varies, as some leave more than others.  John is still leaving a legacy of wisdom and proud service to his country and to our generation.
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