August for most of us is the traditional last month of summer. Many are still traveling on vacation and kids are preparing for the inevitable return to school. Baseball is still going strong and college and NFL football are beginning to stir in preparation for a new season. Things are kind of routine if you are not still on active duty and deployed somewhere in the world, especially if you are in a war zone. For them one day seems like the next. It is just another patrol or perhaps another day at sea if in the Navy or the Coast Guard. Life for those still serving isn’t the same as those of us who no longer serve. We need to keep that in mind and do what we can to ease the strains on those still serving.
I just returned from our 2019 annual business meeting. Our staff did a remarkable job pulling this year’s event off since the venue that we were booked at was sold and closed just a few short weeks prior to us getting together. The crowd that showed up was treated to an exceptional event. The senior enlisted panel was reported by many in attendance as the most informative and relevant one in years. The business meeting, although compressed for time, produced some positive changes for our association that will allow us to grow and remain competitive with our competitors going forward. The Vanguard awards banquet produced another crop of young heroes that we can all be proud of. I hope to see all of you in San Antonio, Texas for the 2020 conference!
On my way home from the conference, I had a layover in Denver and as I was standing in line to grab a bite to eat I noticed a clean-cut young man right in front of me. We spoke and he informed me that he was headed for Marine Corps boot camp. I treated him to dinner and discovered he was the youngest of three brothers and his older brothers were in the Navy. He was excited about his future. I gave him my card and asked that he stay in touch after he graduates from boot camp. Many of us have fallen into the trap of hasty generalization assuming that all young people are not as good as we were based on casual observations. There are plenty of quality good young men and women in this country who are ready to assume the watch. It is up to us to mentor the youth coming behind us and encourage them. That old saying “how do you eat an elephant? The answer is one bite at a time.” This analogy can be applied to our young people. Mentor one young person at a time and you will have done something to make this country and that young person proud.
I challenge you to each take that one bite and mentor a young man or woman. I challenge each of you to bring one new member into this great association. I am encouraged by what I see and there are a lot of good things happening within the NCOA. Send pictures and a brief report of what you are doing to headquarters. There are a lot of you who are not attached to a chapter but are still doing things to make our organization and our country better. Please share them. That will help others realize that they are not alone. There is a saying from another group that I belong to that fits NCOA. “No man fights alone!” We are just bad about sharing what we do so at times it feels like we are alone. Together we will overcome fear, complacency and a feeling that nothing we do makes a difference.
If you have any ideas or suggestions, either contact headquarters or contact me at email@example.com and I can assure you that your leadership will take note.
Strength in Unity & Leadership By Example,
MCPO (SCW) Terry M. Haines
Chairman, International Board of Directors