US Coast guard crews in Mobile Alabama

The Faces of Compassion

Yesterday, the first thing our Sales Manager – Shelby Lanser – said to me was, “I don’t feel like I am doing enough about the hurricane in Texas.”  She was serious.  She was sitting at her desk but her mind was literally a thousand miles away in Houston.  “I feel like I should go and help.”  I almost didn’t answer but then noticed that Stacey Vojic, who shares an office with Shelby, had the same look on her face.  After watching the news all weekend, these women were ready to drive to Texas and do something.

I told them the truth; that when these things happen people move towards the distressed from all surrounding areas in concentric circles.  By the time they got there, they would be in line behind the others who felt the same way and are bringing food and water and blankets.  They would be something to be managed by the incident commanders. The local churches and organizations are better positioned to help and that they will run out of resources before running out of compassion.  Sending money instead of spending it on gas was a better way to help.

The conversation only lasted a few minutes but it will stay with me for while.  We’ve got a great team here.

It’s times like this, when our people actually see that what they make is making a difference, that they really understand how important the work is.  It’s humbling to see the incredible work of the U.S. Coast Guard, the National Guard, and the dozens and dozens of municipal agencies as they step up into the fray created by disaster.  When people are in trouble and others know it, the compassionate have to act.

Far and away the best part of being in the U.S. Coast Guard for all those years was the people around me; those great souls that couldn’t help but act when others were in distress.  I used to miss it; that feeling of a common mission and the strong sense of “team,” and knowing I was working with some of the best people in the world.  Not anymore. The people here are those kind of people.

From my boss, Sam Maness, who told me on my first day, “The guys should have best gear, and if we can’t make it they should get it somewhere else,” to Elias back in shipping, they all know what they are doing and are proud of making that gear and getting it to the teams who need it.  They aren’t flying helicopters or driving boats of pulling people off of rooftops, but I know they would if they could.  They have that same look on their faces.

This is my team now.


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