My Christmas Card to You: A Christmas Story from My Mom

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Holidays, Pure Inspiration

One of my Mom’s fondest wishes was to be published. She wrote a lot and submitted time and time again to publications like Ladies Home Journal, Life Magazineand Readers Digest. She received rejection after rejection, but she never gave up! Sadly, cancer took her from us before she could get her work published. I think she’d definitely have been a blogger if she’d lived into the internet age. I think she’d have been very popular.

Like many people, Christmas always takes me back to my childhood and memories of my Mom telling us a story she’d made up in her head while we sat beneath the tree and the family creche. Recently, I had the chance to look over some of her surviving work and found this little gem of a story. It is the tale of a lost little boy in Bethlehem named Joab, and his unlikely meeting with a Child he would never forget.

To honor Mom and her stories, and of course the Christ Child for whom we celebrate the season, I wanted to share this with you tonight. Imagine yourself in a dimly lit room, in your pajamas, seated between the glowing Christmas tree and the manger scene, listening to the story Mom is crafting just for you tonight. This is my Christmas card to you, my readers.

Merry Christmas, everyone. May your Season be filled with light and family, love and security, and the hope of new life brought forth in a manger embodied by the Christ Child this winter night. “I bring you glad tidings of great joy! For you this night in the City of David, is born unto you a Savior, Who is Christ the Lord!”

 

 


A Christmas Story for the Little Children

by

Pam Addison

The sun shone weakly in the pale sky, but no warmth was on the hard brown earth. Joab was so tired and so cold. Somehow, in the great influx of people into this town, he had become separated from his mother and father. Since the early morning, he had walked and called and cried. He knew that it wasn’t long until the sun set, and the dark lonely night would be upon him.

For a ten year old boy to be away from his parents for the first time was hard enough, but to be alone in a big city and to be lost and cold was even worse. The sun dropped even lower in the city of Bethlehem and a chill breeze began to blow down from the hills. With the tears cold on his face, Joab sat down in front of the biggest inn he had seen on his wanderings. He thought that if he could just wait where there were the most people, perhaps his mother and father would pass by and find him. Peering inside through a dirty window, he saw the bright fire and smoke from the torches that lined the walls. Mostly he saw the food on the tables. Once again cold tears fell on his small face as he remembered how hungry he was. The lump in his throat was greater than the hurt in his stomach.

Although it was almost completely dark, people were jostling one another up and down in the narrow crooked street. Fat merchants, slim girls and their hawk-eyed mothers; Roman soldiers who smelled of leather and horses as they passed with armor clanking and shining as it caught the reflections of the lights of the houses.

Once again Joab looked inside the inn and gathering his courage around his pounding heart, he started to go in. Even if no one took pity on the frail little stranger, at least he would be out of the bitter wind.

As he pushed open the splintered door, the noise hit his ears with a crash. Joab stood dumbfounded with the door latch still in his hand. In one corner, a group of strange people played lutes, harps, tambourines, and flutes in a wild and exotic melody. The smells of roast lamb, hot bread, wine, smoke from the blazing fire, and the odor of unwashed men were so overpowering it made Joab’s head reel and his eyes water. A fat pompous owner stood shouting orders to a tall thin young girl. The men at the tables all tried to outshout him and each other, and banged their cups on the tables in order to get the attention of the frantic servant girl. A flying cold of dirt from the floor, and a curse made Joab duck and quickly shut the door which he was holding. He sidled over to the corner and sat holding his breath for fear the red-faced owner would throw him out. All of a sudden, through a shift in the hazy air, the servant girl’s eyes met his. Joab almost jumped in fright. He just knew she would say something to the innkeeper who was still yelling, seemingly at no one and everyone at the same time. The brown haired girl set down the tray of tankards and stole to the corner where Joab huddled in misery.

“My name is Esther, don’t be afraid. Come with me quickly!” she said, taking a furtive glance over her shoulder. Taking his hand she led him around the tables until they were at the kitchen door. “Go inside and wait for me. It’s alright.” So Joab slipped into the warm kitchen and sat near the fire. It seemed an eternity before the girl came back. Without a word she fetched him some warm goat’s milk and a piece of cheese. Handing them to the boy she said, “Now tell me what your name is and what you are doing here by yourself?” Joab saw her smile and salty tears dropped into the cup of milk. Esther put her arms around his shaking shoulders and Joab sobbed out his story. Esther hugged him and said, “You must stay here tonight and in the morning I will take you to the Temple where I know you will find your parents. But you cannot stay inside the inn, for if you are found we will both be beaten. My master wants only those who can pay in gold. I know of a place that is warm and dry. It’s dirty but it will do for the night. Come, quickly.”

Without another word, the two children hurried out the back door–Esther in the lead with her worn sandals flying over the frosty ground. Down the hill they ran and just below the rise in the hill was a barn. The two pushed open the creaky old door and in the bright moonlight Joab saw piles of moldy hay, cobwebs, clods of dirt piled everywhere, and one lone cow chewing on a stalk of grain. With questioning eyes, Joab looked at Esther. “I’m sorry Joab. This is the best I can do. Tomorrow I will you find your parents. Snuggle down into the hay and it won’t be so cold. I can’t leave you a candle for they might see the light and find out what I have done. Sleep well, little one, and I’ll come for you in the morning.” With that she gently pushed him inside and closed the big door. Pulling her shawl more closely about her, she ran back to the inn with only one backward glance.

Standing inside the dark barn, Joab swallowed his fear and determined to be as brave as his father would have him be. Besides, he thought to himself, if Esther was right he would be rescued in the morning. With that, Joab decided to make the best of the situation. The moon put one small silver finger into the barn and Joab saw a pile of hay that didn’t look quite as dirty as the rest. He inched his way over to it and with a big sigh settled down for the night. Despite everything he had been through, despite the cold and the dark, he soon drifted off into a child’s easy slumber.

After a while, he suddenly awoke to hear the heavy footsteps of a man. He knew in his thumping heart that the owner had somehow found his hiding place. He shuddered at the memory of Esther’s warning of a beating, and crawled even further down into the haystack. The big brown door swung open and Joab shut his eyes and pulled himself into a small ball. He could hear the man moving about, and the terror in his heart almost made him cry out. Carefully, he opened an eye and the dim lantern light in the man’s hand he saw it was not the owner at all! A small sigh escaped him as he saw that it was only a wayfaring stranger like himself. Joab started to get out and speak to him when the tall brown-haired stranger left the barn taking the light with him. In a moment Joab saw the feeble light returning. This time it brought the man—and a woman wrapped in a blue mantle riding on a donkey. Joab knew there would be no talking for there were dark shadows under her eyes. Joab saw the man lift up his arms and helped the young woman from the donkey, saying, “You can rest now, dear one.” The man had spread his cloak on a pile of hay and the woman settled herself and smiled up at him with a tired smile. “Thank you, Joseph dear,” she said. Unwilling to interrupt the quiet talk of the two people, and with a strange calm in his heart, he closed his eyes again and drifted back off to sleep.

The next thing that woke him was a blinding light and the feeling of tender warmth, so very different from the dark cold of the night a little time before. Joab thought that morning had come and so he rolled over to see if Esther had come for him. When he opened his eyes, they almost popped out of his head and his mouth flew open. To his amazement, a musical sound of voices came from everywhere! The only people he could see were the brown-haired stranger and the young woman—–but wait!—–no!—–There had been another stranger in the night. Wrapped in white cloths and nestled in His mother’s arms was a tiny baby! And yet what kind of baby!!?? There was such a glorious shimmering light about Him, Joab couldn’t be sure he wasn’t dreaming. Joab was completely dumbfounded and bewildered by what he saw. He was afraid of the music, soft and crystal-like—–almost, he thought, as if millions of birds had put liquid gold into their throats and were singing a lullaby. Taking a closer look at the baby, Joab saw Him smile and suddenly the air was filled with the sound of soft flutterings and silken music. Shimmering lights of the rainbow and gossamer voices moved and filled that old barn. Joab was really frightened now. As quietly as he could, he crept forward to go around the opposite side of all that wonder and start for the door.

He had just put his hand on the door when it flew open and a group of men rushed in. They were breathless with excitement and dressed in the rough garb of the hill people. They stopped just inside the door and one of them asked, “Is this the Child? Is this the Messiah? The angel told us we would find Him here. Is He the Promised One?” At a nod from the woman, they went forward with wonder in their eyes to where the three were. Joab watched as the woman with the blue mantle held the Babe for them to see and welcomed them. They fell down on their knees, seemingly unaware of the light and the music that came from nowhere and yet from everywhere. Joab pondered a moment–trying to remember what had been taught to him about the Messiah who was to come.

Without thinking he walked back to the circle of glorious light and nudging between the rough men still on their knees, he found himself face to face with the Baby and the Mother. Looking at her face with its tender smile and then at the Baby, he knew (and how he knew he didn’t know) that this baby was the Messiah. Joab whispered, “He’s beautiful!” The woman looked up at him with all the beauty of heaven in her lovely eyes. She drew him down beside her and there he stayed far beyond the time when the men and the music had taken their leave. There he stayed until morning sleeping peacefully when Esther came to report that his parents had finally come to the inn and were waiting for him.

Joab stood up and the Mother kissed his cheek gently, sending him on his way. With a last look at the beautiful Child resting in His mother’s arms, Joab ran to relate to his mother and father his night of heavenly wonder! They looked at him with curiosity, exchanging puzzled looks that soon gave way to relief of finding their son who had been lost. “Come Joab,” said his mother, “Let’s get you some breakfast.”

Joab never forgot that glorious night, and when he was troubled or hurting he remembered the bright light of that beautiful Child.


Mickey's Rules for Leaders eBook CoverMickey believes everyone can reach high levels of performance if inspired and led. During his 28 year US Air Force career Mickey commanded thousands of Airmen, managed portfolios worth billions of dollars, and worked with military, civil, and industry officials around the world. He is a Distinguished Graduate from the Eisenhower School at National Defense University in Washington DC.

Mickey is the author of seven books, including Leading Leaders: Inspiring, Empowering, and Motivating Teams, Mickey’s Rules for Leaders, and The 5 Be’s For Starting Out. He’s a frequent contributor to industry publications and writes for his own blog and GeneralLeadership.com.

 

Sign up for Mickey’s mailing list and get Mickey’s Rules for Leaders as a thank you!

 

#TBT What’s My Purpose?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in From the Blogs, Pure Inspiration

When reaching the end of their careers, military veterans are often faced with difficult questions.  There are, of course, the practical considerations of finances and family, but the biggest question for the vet is not where he’ll live or how he’ll make his living.  The biggest question for the retiring vet is what’s my purpose?

The military vet has spent years in the service of others, often at great personal cost, and through thick and thin it has been their sense of duty, that the mission is more important than themselves that had kept them going.  Some have sacrificed much, others not as much, but as the saying goes all gave some.  So when the bullets are flying, or when Dad can’t be there for a major event in a child’s life, or another Christmas is spent talking on vidchat instead of being together around the table, the warrior and his/her family content themselves with the knowledge that the sacrifice was somehow worth it.  In short, military life has purpose.US Air Force Honor Guard (USAF Photo)

But when that service ends, the military vet more often than not needs to find something to replace the mission he had as a soldier.  It’s not as easy as you might think. There are Transition Assistance Programs in the military to help these (mostly) still young people cross over from the military into civilian life.  “Re-discovering” one’s purpose after 10, 20, or 30 years is not easy. These servicemembers still have a lot to contribute and many retain the desire to serve.

I suppose that’s why so many vets become entrepreneurs and why so many companies are eager to hire veterans.  Vets “get it”: they show up on time, they do what’s expected and more.

Enter Team Rubicon.  I spotted this inspirational story in Inc. Magazine about two Marine vets who started something that is impacting the world.   Even after their military service ended, their sense of duty didn’t:

In January 2010, U.S. Marine Corps veterans Jake Wood and William McNulty stared a catastrophic problem in the face.

In the immediate wake of the Haitian earthquake that month, aid organizations were stymied by reports of insecure conditions on the ground. Wood, who had been a Marine scout-sniper and left the military just months before, posted on Facebook that he wanted to travel to Port-au-Prince and could use his security and medical experience to help.

After viewing the post, McNulty was eager to sign on. A veteran of Marine Corps infantry and intelligence, he knew Wood via blogs and a few Skype conversations they’d had in which they discussed business ideas. However, they had never met in person before.

Through the Jesuit high school he’d attended, McNulty met a Jesuit missionary in Haiti, who desperately needed a medical team to treat men, women, and children injured in the earthquake. Suddenly the veterans realized this would be their mission.

Read the Inc. profile here:  Meet the Veterans Launching Nonprofits to Change the World | Inc.com

Team Rubicon PhotoI share this story for two reasons.

First, I think the private sector has a gold mine in potential outstanding employees in our military veterans. A vet understands leadership and followership, he has incorporated important values like teamwork and service into his character, and responsibility, honesty, and duty are a part of her DNA. When a vet tells you as a potential employer, “I can do anything”, he means it because he has done lots of things, often things he never knew was in him before he started.  I’d like to encourage the private sector to hire our vets…they’ll produce!

Second, on this Veteran’s Day it’s important to reflect on the ways that our vets continue to serve, even out of uniform.  They’ve lived a life of purpose…serving their country and their fellow warriors…and that sense of duty doesn’t go away when they hung up the uniform in the closet.  Americans do appreciate the men and women who serve, and I know those men and women who served and continue to serve appreciate their fellow Americans’ gratitude.  That said, I think some times our warriors are humbled by their fellow citizen’s adulation.   After all, they’re merely doing their duty as best as they know how.

Today, the 95th anniversary of the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month when the guns fell silent on the Western Front during the Great War, I submit that how our vets can continue to serve is worthy of a little reflection.

And for America’s warriors, past and present: God bless’em, every one.

For the New Graduates

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It’s the graduation season, and young people across the country are throwing their square caps into the air in celebration of their accomplishment. My daughter was honored to present the Valedictorian speech at her school (which I’ll post tomorrow), and as a Dad I’ve got some advice I’d like to offer as well.

In honor of all those new high school grads who are preparing to enter college or the working world (or both), I thought I’d pen my very own Commencement Speech:


Aloha Graduates!

That word is heavy with meaning isn’t it? To be a graduate signifies you’ve accomplished something–something not everyone accomplishes. For good reasons and bad, roughly 10% of your peers nationwide weren’t able to finish. Maybe they had a tragedy in their lives that caused them to leave school and enter the workforce early, or perhaps there was some other reason. But regardless of the reason, you’ve accomplished something others have not. You shouldn’t take your accomplishment for granted. I share in your family, friends, and the faculty’s pride for you getting this far, and so should you be proud of yourself.

Some of you will be going on to college–congrats for your acceptance by your college or university! That is no small accomplishment even in an age when so many seek those college diplomas. Colleges can afford to be choosy, and they chose you. Let that sense of accomplishment carry you over the summer and into the orientation week at your new school; then forget it. You won’t be attending the 13th Grade, you’re in college and everyone expects you to perform at the collegiate level. Whether you’re majoring in Underwater Basketweaving or Nuclear Engineering, your faculty (and your parents!) will expect you to be an adult who can make their own decisions, ask for help when you need it, and deliver results with the work they give you. In a very real sense, you’ve got a $24,000 a year job (at your average state school) and your new boss expects you to earn your pay.

Some of you will be attending vocational training, either at a community college or trade school–congrats for your acceptance in your program! Employers constantly tell me how hard it is to get good employees, so you’re acceptance into a vocational training program is something of which you can be proud! But just like your college-bound classmates, you can have the summer break to savor your graduation and acceptance, and then you need to realize that accomplishment is not what will get you your license or certificate.  It will definitely not get you your first job, although it will get you in the door. Vocational training courses range in cost from $11,000 in non-medical fields, to more than $60,000 for medical training. That means you also have a job to do and your instructor is expecting you to earn your “pay.”

For those entering the workforce directly or the military: congrats on your very brave decision to grow up immediately! I commend you for your heart and for your willingness to get out and earn your own way in the world.  Unlike you’re classmates who still have a year or four to go before they start earning a living, you probably won’t get a summer to savor your graduation–but you get to start your adventure immediately. Remember, you’re not in high school. Your employer or your Military Training Instructor are there to train you up to do a job, and they expect you to perform. Do what your boss tells you, be honest and punctual, and be ready to do the dirty work. If you work hard and forthrightly it won’t be long until you’re the one giving the orders, but you’ll have to earn that privilege.

In case you haven’t guessed, all that advice actually applies to every graduate no matter what path you’ve chosen after high school. Some sprinted across the line and others made it just before the time expired, but you all made it! I want you all to be proud of yourselves, regardless of your class rank or the path you’ve chosen to pursue in life. Getting to the finish line of high school, whether you arrived in style or slid into your parking space just as the engine gave out is not only praiseworthy, it’s exciting and worthy of a victory cry.

One last word–your next set of decisions about the course of your life are significant, but they are not carved on stone tablets. If you decide college isn’t for you, or you’ve chosen the wrong field of study, or the wrong vocation, or the wrong job, then I want you to exercise the same will to succeed you did to complete high school to chart a new course for your life. I don’t mean you should make monumental choices lightly, or change life paths on a whim; but I do mean that you don’t have to go down with the ship if life changes in unexpected ways.

Reach for the stars, chase your dreams, and above all: work hard. You’ve earned your celebration tonight and you’ve earned your place in society. Tomorrow, begin the work of earning it anew. In the world you’re stepping into, not everyone gets a trophy but everyone gets a chance. Take that chance and make the most of it.

Class of 2015: Heartfelt congratulations for a job well done, and “Aim High” as you launch into the next chapter of your life!

Check Out My Newest Blog: Patio Wisdom

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Announcements, Books, Patio Wisdom, Pure Inspiration

Check out PatioWisdom.com! I’d originally intended the blog “Patio Wisdom” to be a static page as an intro to the book by the same title. Patio Wisdom is a fun book I believe will inspire young men, and can be an inspiration to any one who’s a student of the School of Hard Knocks. Life isn’t always fair, but it can be fun!

I had fun doing the project with my brother. I hope you’ll enjoy the blog!

Who Inspires You?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Pure Inspiration

 

abraham-lincolnAs a student of history, I’m often inspired by the lives of the people who lived through and shaped great events. I think we need heroes, and not just the ones we watch for 30 seconds on a news program’s “profile” short. Great men and women from history should inspire us to see our own circumstances in light of how they conquered adversity and achieved greatness.

Sometimes we reduce historical figures to “ordinary” status by over emphasizing their flaws and under-selling their accomplishments. I think that’s a mistake. What makes our heroes “great” is not merely their virtues and accomplishments, but that they did great things despite their flaws. Celebrating only a hero’s virtue without acknowledging the flaws is dishonest, but so is discounting their accomplishments because of those flaws. Sometimes a historical person’s human weakness and failings are defining characteristics, but most often those people are like the rest of us: a mixture of weakness and strength married with the courage to rise above and accomplish something remarkable. In my mind being mortal makes their contributions all the more inspiring: that somehow our heroes were able to rise above (sometimes even themselves) to do something great.

I think leaders need heroes and role models. We need them because even the most confident Type A leader has self-doubt. We need heroes because we sometimes take counsel of our fears. We need to be inspired to believe even flawed humans can do good, even in spite of their own flaws. Acknowledging that there’s no such thing as a perfect human, but that imperfect humans can do good is beneficial for our collective souls. Inspiration can come from the unknown person working hard on a cause they believe in, but let’s not overlook our national heroes.

Heroes can teach us something about ourselves and inspire us to greatness—if we allow it.

“Thank You For Your Service”

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I’m humbled whenever one of my fellow citizens comes up to me and thanks me for my service. Having served alongside some of the finest men and women I’ll ever meet, I can only accept those kind “thank yous” on their behalf.

It’s an honor to serve, and I have the great privilege to serve in the company of heroes. The video below is a touching reminder of that bond we share as warriors, even across generations. You can feel it when veterans meet, and see it in their eyes.

So to all my fellow veterans, thank you for your service.

Thank You For Your Service (A Moment of Truth):

Engineer Airmen Lead the Way in the Pacific

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Pure Inspiration, Speaking

I was privileged to speak at the closing ceremonies for Pacific Unity 14-8 last week in Mount Hagen, Papua New Guinea.  A team of Engineer Airmen from the Hawaii Air National Guard’s 154th Civil Engineer Squadron and members of Public Affairs, Comptroller, and Medical Airmen from Joint Base Pearl Harbor-Hickam’s 15th Wing spent a little over three weeks constructing new girls dorms at the Togoba Secondary School in Mount Hagen.

These Airmen were an inspiration to me, and the bonds of friendship they built during their time there will have long-lasting impact.  Because of them, thousands of girls in the Central Highlands will now receive an education. Well done Engineers!

General Pershing On “FIDO”

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image

Early in my career I learned about the FIDO Principle (Forget It and Drive On) as an aid to recovering from a mistake or from adversity. Seems Blackjack Pershing learned it before me!

“Now for a word of advice and don’t forget this. If you have a fall—mental, moral, or physical–pick yourself up and start over again immediately. If you do, in the long run life won’t beat you.”

Gen John “Blackjack” Pershing

Pure Inspiration: “Look Up”

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As much as I enjoy technology, and use it frequently, I also believe that sometimes the technology gets in the way of our interpersonal relationships.  The vid below is a nicely done reminder to “Look Up” from our technology and see the people around us.

 

Also reminded me of this little scene in the CBS comedy series The Big Bang Theory where Penny is flabbergasted by Sheldon and Leonard’s complete lack of knowledge of popular culture.  “How do you know this stuff?” Leonard exclaims, and Penny responds, “Because I go outside and talk to people!!

Enjoy.

‘Downton Abbey’: Grace, Civility, and Style

Posted 1 CommentPosted in Pure Inspiration

A favorite in our household, Downtown Abbey returns tomorrow night.  My darling wife and our very sweet daughter are counting hours until we open the gates to the Crawley estate and rejoin our favorite English family (or ‘British’ rather, since there’s at least one Irishman upstairs and quite a few Scots and Irishmen downstairs).

image

I’ve often wondered why a story about an aristocratic British family holds so much fascination for Americans, and I think I have the answer.  It’s the way the Crawley family handles what life gives them.

The Crawleys aren’t immune from scandal (Lady Sybil ran off with the chauffeur), or hardship (Lord Grantham has made his fair share of spectacularly bad financial deals that almost cost him his home… twice), or family discord (the Crawley daughters really don’t get along).  BUT, they’ve got a core set of values they hold to, including their faith, and no matter what they take what comes with grace and, well, style. There is a sense of propriety and duty along the members of the household that I think is very attractive. I’m not romanticizing everything about the Edwardian era, but I think people showing each other respect even when they profoundly disagree with how they live their lives (cf. how everyone treats Thomas), and “soldiering on” in the face of adversity are lessons we can learn from that bygone time.

Perhaps it might be time for us here in the USA to recover a little style and grace in a turbulent 21st Century.

With that in mind, enjoy this article from USA Today that has some really great quotes.

My favorite quote wasn’t there, so I’ll give Mr. Carson the last word: When you’re tired of style, you’re tired of life!

Eric’s Truck

Posted Leave a commentPosted in Pure Inspiration

In keeping with the theme of “service” this Veterans’ Day week, I’d like to share a story about what some Air Force firefighters did for a young boy recently.

That’s when firefighters with the 673rd Civil Engineer Squadron at Joint Base Elmendorf-Richardson stepped up and created Engine No. 7, a brother to the department’s six full-sized trucks. The red fire engine fashioned to fit around Eric’s wheelchair mesmerized children and had adults pulling out cellphones for photos Friday at the JBER hospital’s trick-or-treat event.

“Service” as a core value is another great reason to hire our veterans!

You’ll want to read the rest here. Be sure to check out the pictures, they’re heart warming!

What’s My Purpose?

Posted Leave a commentPosted in From the Blogs, Pure Inspiration

When reaching the end of their careers, military veterans are often faced with difficult questions.  There are, of course, the practical considerations of finances and family, but the biggest question for the vet is not where he’ll live or how he’ll make his living.  The biggest question for the retiring vet is what’s my purpose?

The military vet has spent years in the service of others, often at great personal cost, and through thick and thin it has been their sense of duty, that the mission is more important than themselves that had kept them going.  Some have sacrificed much, others not as much, but as the saying goes all gave some.  So when the bullets are flying, or when Dad can’t be there for a major event in a child’s life, or another Christmas is spent talking on vidchat instead of being together around the table, the warrior and his/her family content themselves with the knowledge that the sacrifice was somehow worth it.  In short, military life has purpose.US Air Force Honor Guard (USAF Photo)

But when that service ends, the military vet more often than not needs to find something to replace the mission he had as a soldier.  It’s not as easy as you might think. There are Transition Assistance Programs in the military to help these (mostly) still young people cross over from the military into civilian life.  “Re-discovering” one’s purpose after 10, 20, or 30 years is not easy. These servicemembers still have a lot to contribute and many retain the desire to serve.

I suppose that’s why so many vets become entrepreneurs and why so many companies are eager to hire veterans.  Vets “get it”: they show up on time, they do what’s expected and more.

Enter Team Rubicon.  I spotted this inspirational story in Inc. Magazine about two Marine vets who started something that is impacting the world.   Even after their military service ended, their sense of duty didn’t:

In January 2010, U.S. Marine Corps veterans Jake Wood and William McNulty stared a catastrophic problem in the face.

In the immediate wake of the Haitian earthquake that month, aid organizations were stymied by reports of insecure conditions on the ground. Wood, who had been a Marine scout-sniper and left the military just months before, posted on Facebook that he wanted to travel to Port-au-Prince and could use his security and medical experience to help.

After viewing the post, McNulty was eager to sign on. A veteran of Marine Corps infantry and intelligence, he knew Wood via blogs and a few Skype conversations they’d had in which they discussed business ideas. However, they had never met in person before.

Through the Jesuit high school he’d attended, McNulty met a Jesuit missionary in Haiti, who desperately needed a medical team to treat men, women, and children injured in the earthquake. Suddenly the veterans realized this would be their mission.

Read the Inc. profile here:  Meet the Veterans Launching Nonprofits to Change the World | Inc.com

Team Rubicon PhotoI share this story for two reasons.

First, I think the private sector has a gold mine in potential outstanding employees in our military veterans. A vet understands leadership and followership, he has incorporated important values like teamwork and service into his character, and responsibility, honesty, and duty are a part of her DNA. When a vet tells you as a potential employer, “I can do anything”, he means it because he has done lots of things, often things he never knew was in him before he started.  I’d like to encourage the private sector to hire our vets…they’ll produce!

Second, on this Veteran’s Day it’s important to reflect on the ways that our vets continue to serve, even out of uniform.  They’ve lived a life of purpose…serving their country and their fellow warriors…and that sense of duty doesn’t go away when they hung up the uniform in the closet.  Americans do appreciate the men and women who serve, and I know those men and women who served and continue to serve appreciate their fellow Americans’ gratitude.  That said, I think some times our warriors are humbled by their fellow citizen’s adulation.   After all, they’re merely doing their duty as best as they know how.

Today, the 95th anniversary of the 11th Hour of the 11th Day of the 11th Month when the guns fell silent on the Western Front during the Great War, I submit that how our vets can continue to serve is worthy of a little reflection.

And for America’s warriors, past and present: God bless’em, every one.