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Core Values

It seems every organization has a list of its core values on its web site these days.  Most seem to speak to lofty visions of humanity, probably developed by a think tank and judged by a focus group to be the most appealing to the organization's target audience.   Well, I don't have a high paid team to develop my core values, nor have they been run through a focus group.  Nonetheless, here are mine and how they came to be. 
  • Patriotism 
  • Service to Others
  • Integrity
  • Innovation
  • Excellence
  • Dependability
  • Loyalty
  • Humor
  • Compassion
  • Optimism
So how did these become important to me?
For starters, Patriotism was always important to me and instilled by my parents and schooling as a child.  It's why I joined the military at age 18.
I developed a sense of Service to Others as a Boy Scout.  Our troop leaders, (Mr. Alexander & Mr. Land) which I became one as I grew older, always had us doing tasks to help others, especially those less fortunate.
I had never thought much about Integrity but looking back my parents were shinning examples of integrity, as my Dad owned several businesses through the years of my growing up and he always treated everyone fairly and helped those who couldn't pay their bills.
My sense of Innovation was sparked by my high school science and agriculture teachers, Ms. Bryan and Mr. Mountcastle.  They both encouraged me to think of better ways to solve problems.  A trait that has helped me in so many jobs as I've grown up.
Doing my best at anything, having a sense of Excellence, started early as my Mom always said "do your best" and that was rapidly reinforced by the military in basic training and beyond.  Back before having Core Values was "cool" we were taught in basic training, (my thanks to TSgt Blome) and other Air Force schools with young students with skulls full of mush that we should do our best and we would be successful.  
Being Dependable was a key to survival in the various war zones I've been in.  Each person had to depend on their colleagues and those that were not dependable were fast found out and ostracized.  In Vietnam, I learned this from SSgt Allen Carlisle and MSgt Malcom Miller.
Being Loyal to my friends has always been a core part of my DNA.  Even as a child, I was loyal to my friends, no matter what malady may have befallen them.  I'm reminded of a time when my friend Mark G. lost his dad to suicide.  Many people blamed the members of the family for the suicide, but I never did and remained a loyal friend to Mark.
A sense of Humor goes a long way in diffusing a volatile situation.  I think I got my sense of humor from my Dad who was a jokester and always had some kind of joke or story to tell to make people smile.  Ask me one day about the pet mongoose he kept at the service station back in the early 1960s.
My sense of Compassion was really fine tuned during my time in Vietnam and in the Philippines.  During my time in Vietnam I realized that by a miracle of birth, I was an American and had a blessed family and a great life, no matter what else happened.  The people who were suffering as a result of a war they wanted no part of made a profound impact on my life and made me want to help alleviate their suffering.  Later, when I was stationed in the Philippines, I jumped at the chance to go back to Vietnam and help get people out of their now destroyed country.  MSgt Larry Ballard and Chief Ben Stubbe helped keep me straight during this time of my life. 
Optimism has been a way of life for me for longer than I can remember.  I think this came not only from my parents but also my high school coach, Mr. Bobby Wasden.  He was always a "glass half full" kind of man who always pushed me and others, to do our best, and convinced us that we could do things that we didn't think possible. 
So, after writing this, I think its safe to say, my values were instilled in my early on and they have not waivered.  As the Bible says, "Train up a child in the way he should go, and when he is old he will not depart from it."  Proverbs 22:6
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