Earlier this week, I looked at the date on my last blog entry, and asked myself how I managed to make it through May without announcing the cool thing that happened. Granted Amerivet Services has had an incredibly busy couple of months, and the weather hasn’t been fully accommodating for some of our projects. Wind and rain can be big problems quite often in this business, but we tend to win eventually.
In the middle of all this, I had a great experience last month. On the surface, it wasn’t a new experience, but somehow whenever this comes around it’s always new. What’s the big mystery? Well, Career Day of course!
Every year, The Bridge High School in Brighton sets aside a day for students to interact with people in various professions, and try figure out what they want to do with their lives. It’s a great opportunity for them, and puts big dose of pride and humility in my heart.
The students at The Bridge are somewhat challenged. Most of them are there because for some reason they don’t fit in at a public school. The funds are limited and the school is small, so they don’t have big occupational programs (like welding shop) like bigger schools do. It’s kind of a “last stop” for some of the kids, one last chance to do something good. This is what makes it my kind of place. There’s just something in me that wants to see them succeed in life.
Three years ago I received a message from a staff member at The Bridge, and she asked me if I would do a presentation for Career Day. I’d never considered such a thing, and I was worried about the “down time” required to make it happen, but my heart was into it, so I said “yes.” Let’s just say it’s one of the uplifting decisions I’ve ever made.
I sit at a table and talk to 90 or so kids, five or six at a time, for six or seven minutes per group. Yes, I only get SEVEN MINUTES to give them something good to think about. There’s a lot of pressure to turn it into something good, and I always wonder how it worked out. Until…a few weeks later, I get an envelope containing Thank You notes from several of the students.
THEN…a year later I go back to Career Day, and find out that two or three of them have decided to enter the welding world. I even had one tell me that he had gotten certified and already had a job! THAT’S when the pride and humility really took a hold on me. I’m a results-oriented person, and when I can quantify the value of seven minutes into a lifetime for someone, it’s a pretty big deal for me.
My friend Dan, who’s a welding engineer, calls it “giving back to the profession.” Yes, there’s some of that, but it’s also a matter of giving back to the same community that helped raise my kids. I’m sure someone walked through their lives and gave them an inspiration that “wasn’t from Dad,” and maybe not too far away from what Dad was thinking. No matter what the path was, I’m very happy to see my kids making a good mark on the world, and it does take a community to make that happen.
With all this in mind, I think YOU should find a way to give back to your profession, your community, and your country. Try to throw an unbiased, clean slice of your experience and ability at the world, and watch it grow into something good.
For our parting shot, check out the brackets I welded up for my friend, Wayne McGregor of Target Tracker. He’s been giving back the the military and police world for a good long time. Every time I see him, I get an education.