Thursday, May 21, 2015

Chris Kyle: Amen

This is apparently from a wife of one of the Navy Seals in attendance... it makes interesting, disturbing, but hardly surprising reading.

Chris Kyle became the armed services number #1 sniper of all time.
Not something he was happy about, other than the fact that in so doing, he saved a lot of American lives.
Three years ago, his wife Taya asked him to leave the SEAL teams because he had a huge bounty on his head by Al Qaeda. He did and wrote the book "The American Sniper." 100% of the proceeds from the book went to two of the SEAL families who had lost their sons in Iraq.
That was the kind of guy Chris was. He formed a company in Dallas to train military, police and I think firemen, how to protect themselves in difficult situations. He also formed a foundation to work with military people suffering from PTSD. Chris was a giver not a taker. He, along with a friend and neighbor, Chad Littlefield, were murdered trying to help a young man that had served six months in Iraq and claimed to have PTSD.

Now I need to tell you about all of the blessings.

Southwest Airlines flew in any SEAL and their family from any airport to the funeral... free of charge. The employees donated buddy passes and one lady worked for four days without much of a break to see that it happened.  Volunteers were at both airports in Dallas to drive them to the hotel.

The Marriott Hotel reduced their rates to $45 a night and cleared the hotel for only SEAL's and family.

The Midlothian, TX Police Department paid the $45 a night for each room.  I would guess there were about 200 people staying at the hotel, 100 of them were SEALs.

Two large buses were chartered (an unknown donor paid the bill) to transport people to the different events and they also had a few rental cars (donated).

The police and secret service were on duty 24 hours during the stay at our hotel.

At the Kyle house, the Texas DPS parked a large motor home in front to block the view from reporters. It remained there the entire five days for the SEALs to meet in and so they could use the restroom there instead of the bathroom in the house.
Taya, their two small children and both sets of parents were staying in the home. Only a hand full of SEALs went into the home as they had different duties and meetings were held sometimes on an hourly basis.

It was a huge coordination of many different events and security. Derek was assigned to be a Pall Bearer, to escort Chris' body when it was transferred from the Midlothian Funeral Home to the Arlington Funeral Home, and to be with Taya.  A tough job! Taya seldom came out of her bedroom. The house was full with people from the church and other family members that would come each day to help. I spent one morning in a bedroom with Chris' mom and the next morning with Chad Littlefield's parents (the other man murdered with Chris).
George W Bush and his wife Laura, met and talked to everyone on the Seal Team one on one. They went behind closed doors with Taya for quite a while. They had prayer with us all. You can tell when people were sincere and caring.

Nolan Ryan sent his cooking team, a huge grill and lots of steaks, chicken and hamburgers. They set up in the front yard and fed people all day long including the 200 SEALs and their families.

The next day a local BBQ restaurant set up a buffet in front of the house and fed all once again. Food was plentiful and all were taken care of. The family's church kept those inside the house well fed.

Jerry Jones, the man everyone loves to hate, was a rock star. He made sure that we all were taken care of. His wife and he were just making sure everyone was taken care of....Class... He donated the use of Cowboy Stadium for the services because so many wanted to attend. The charter buses transported us to the stadium on Monday at 10:30 am.  Every car, bus, motorcycle was searched with bomb dogs and police. I am not sure if kooks were making threats trying to make a name for themselves or if so many SEALs in one place was a security risk, I don't know. We willingly obliged. No purses went into the stadium!
We were taken to The Legends room high up and a large buffet was available. That was for about 300 people. We were growing.

A Medal of Honor recipient was there, lots of secret service and police and Sarah Palin and her husband. She looked nice, this was a very formal military service.

The service started at 1:00 pm and when we were escorted onto the field I was shocked. We heard that about 10,000 people had come to attend also. They were seated in the stadium seats behind us. It was a beautiful and emotional service. The Bagpipe and drum corps were wonderful and the Texas A&M men's choir stood through the entire service and sang right at the end. We were all in tears.

The next day was the 200-mile procession from Midlothian, TX to Austin for burial. It was a cold, drizzly, windy day, but the people were out.

We had dozens of police motorcycles riders, freedom riders, five chartered buses and lots of cars. You had to have a pass to be in the procession and still it was huge.

Two helicopters circled the procession with snipers sitting out the side door for protection.

 It was the longest funeral procession ever in the state of Texas. People were everywhere. The entire route was shut down ahead of us, the people were lined up on the side of the road the entire way.

Firemen were down on one knee, police officers were holding their hats over their hearts, children waving flags, veterans saluting as we went by.

Every bridge had fire trucks with large flags displayed from their tall ladders, people all along the entire 200 miles were standing in the cold weather. It was so heartwarming.  Taya rode in the hearse with Chris' body so Derek rode the route with us. I was so grateful to have that time with him.
The service was at Texas National Cemetery. Very few are buried there and you have to apply to get in . It is like people from the Civil War, Medal of Honor winners, a few from the Alamo and all the historical people of Texas.

It was a nice service and the Freedom Riders surrounded the outside of the entire cemetery to keep the crazy church people from Kansas that protest at military funerals away from us.

Each SEAL put his Trident (metal SEAL badge) on the top of Chris' casket, one at a time. A lot hit it in with one blow. Derek was the only one to take four taps to put his in and it was almost like he was caressing it as he did it.

Another Tearful moment
After the service Governor Rick Perry and his wife, Anita, invited us to the governor's mansion. She stood at the door, greeted each of us individually, and gave each of the SEALs a coin of Texas. She was a sincere, compassionate, and gracious hostess. We were able to tour the ground floor and then went into the garden for beverages and BBQ. So many of the Seal team guys said that after they get out they are moving to Texas.

They remarked that they had never felt so much love and hospitality. The charter buses then took the guys to the airport to catch their returning flights. Derek just now called and after a 20 hours flight he is back in his spot, in a dangerous land on the other side of the world, protecting America

We just wanted to share with you, the events of a quite emotional, but blessed week."
To this day, no one in the White House has ever acknowledged Chris Kyle; his service, his death, his duty, his generosity, his caring, his life.

However, the President can call a sports person and congratulate him on his bravery for announcing to the world that he is gay.

He can say on national television that someone, a man who has committed a crime and was shot by police in the line of duty, would have made him a good son.

The SEALS have asked that you please, keep this moving if you think Chris Kyle would have made a good son.

Monday, May 18, 2015

The Entitlement Generation

by Steve Young, Argus Leader (a Gannett publication)
Sioux Falls, SD

Trail King Industries CEO Bruce Yakley shared a mind-boggling statistic with me the other day about a group demographers call "The Entitlement Generation."
It seems his Mitchell-based company hired 280 production workers last year between his plants here in South Dakota and up in Fargo. Assemblers, painters, welders -- most of them fell into that age group that was born between 1978 and 1997.
The generation he and I raised.
So get this -- of the 280 new hires, only one remained on the job a year later.
"We lost 279 of them," he said. "Mostly because of work ethic issues."
They simply didn't show up for work at this business that makes open deck and material handling trailers and walked away.
People will ask: Well, what was the company paying them? Someone right out of high school with zero skills started at $13.50 an hour, Yakley said. With perfect attendance -- using, say, vacation time when they're sick -- an employee could earn a $500 bonus the first year, $750 the second and $1,000 the third. They average $375 per quarter in profit sharing. They can make $1,500 by referring an employee to Trail King that works an entire year.
Tired of the assembly line? Trail King will pay to send them through welding school, a job that can earn them $50,000 in base salary, overtime and bonuses, Yakley said.
And still 279 of 280 walked away.
The syndicated columnists have an absolute free-for-all with "The Entitlement Generation." They're the young people who were never told "no" because Mom and Dad wanted to be their friends and not their parents. They got trophies for showing up to the T-ball games even though they never made practice. They post any vulgarity they want on social media because they have freedom of speech.
"My generation," Yakley laments, "screwed up the kids of this current generation."
He's not the only who thinks that. I've talked with CEOs across Sioux Falls' business landscape and many of them, particularly in the manufacturing sector, agree.
Here's why it's a concern at Trail King. For training and other workforce development purposes, the company invests roughly $8,000 per employee. That means last year Trail King spent $8,000 times 280 new workers. "That's a little over $2 million that went down the drain," its CEO said.
Here's why it should be a concern for all of South Dakota. Yakley figures his company is turning away $20 million in business because it can't find enough good, dependable laborers.
That's just one hit on the South Dakota economy. He knows in talking to his peers in industry that his isn't the only business losing out on opportunities.
So what to do? The state needs to invest even more in technical education, Yakley said. Whatever baggage they might bring with them from their upbringing, the members of "The Entitlement Generation" who have gone through welding at Mitchell Technical Institute and ended up at Trail King "are excellent," he said. "They will be leaders on our shop floor."
His company is more than willing to invest in that promise. Now it simply would like to see the state make an even greater commitment to the training of those skilled laborers as well.
Teach them how to weld. Teach them skills that translate into a rewarding career. And maybe spend a little time on work ethic, showing up when you're supposed to and earning that paycheck.

To do otherwise, as we have unfortunately learned, can be mind-boggling.

Wednesday, May 13, 2015

Nice Read

By Terry Orr 
Sharing an email (thank you Bruce)

Before middle age – Do not fear!
After middle age – Do not regret!
Enjoy Your Life While You Can
As long as it is physically possible, visit places you wish to visit.
When there is an opportunity, get together with old classmates, old colleagues & old friends
When it is time to spend, just spend, treat yourself well as you’re getting older
Whatever you feel like eating, just eat! It is most important to be happy.
Treat sickness with optimism. Whether your are poor or rich
Do not be afraid or worried whey you are sick
Let the doctors handle your body, God handle your life, but be in charge of your own moods
Our kids will make their own fortune
Your old friends – seize every opportunities to meet up with your friends. Such opportunities will become rate as time goes by.
Everyday you MUST smile and laugh
Life ends; when you stop Dreaming
Hope ends; when you stop Believing
Love ends; when you stop Caring

And Friendship ends; when you stop Sharing.