Tag Archives: Courage
Minor League Baseball player and Surface Warfare Officer Luke Gillingham shares his memories of playing baseball at the United States Naval Academy for Coach Paul Kostacopoulos, his recollection of being drafted by the Toronto Blue Jays, and the options the Navy presented to him as he fulfilled his commitment to serving his country through the Navy Reserve while having the opportunity to play professional baseball. Gillingham also shares his thoughts on playing professional baseball and baseball during the global health crisis of COVID-19.
Retired Fleet Master Chief Scott Benning speaks about the opportunities presented by the military for individuals to improve themselves while serving one’s country and receiving an education. It is vital to our country that the military is on the leading edge of technology and human capital development. Chief Benning speaks about the sacrifices people make in life and the meaning of a purpose driven life, including setting goals and overcoming setbacks. The more one puts into something, the more one receives from their efforts. You get in life what you give in life. Scott speaks about learning from our mistakes and passing that information on to the future generation. His book Power of Positive Leadership “challenges you to focus on your personal attitude, focus, and the importance of growing yourself so you can grow others to strengthen your team and grow a positive attitude” (pop-leadership.com). ICE leadership includes three steps: inspire, challenge, and empower.
Air Force Veteran, TEDx Speaker, Award-Winning Entrepreneur, Seasoned Brand Ambassador, Girl Scout Gold Award Winner Charlynda Scales on her time in acquisition in the Air Force and lessons learned from entrepreneurship.
Ms. Charlynda Scales speaks of her time as an acquisitions officer in the United States Air Force, the bond she shared with her grandfather Charlie “Mutt” Ferrell, Jr., who encouraged Charlynda to pursue a career in the military and left her with his recipe. Today, Charlynda leads Mutt’s Sauce, with “every bottle of Mutt’s Sauce made with love and determination to continue his legacy.” Hear about the difficulty and excitement of being the first active-duty service member to appear on Shark Tank and how Charlynda has managed business success as someone from modest beginnings.
“In 1956, Mutt got the idea to make a sauce he could use for every meal. Mutt’s sauce was a multi-purpose specialty sauce, infusing sweet, tangy and a little bit of heat into each spoonful. When Mutt deployed with the U.S. Air Force in support of Vietnam and the Korean War, he packed up his wife, kids and of course the sauce, and headed over to Japan. While in Japan, Mutt would host parties and his sauce was always the highlight. The laughter, food, and friendship was always successful at breaking down any cultural or language barriers. What started as one man’s quest to make a multi-purpose sauce quickly became a symbol of unity and brotherhood wherever he went.” (Muttssauce.com/pages/about).
“Retiring after 21 years of active service in the United States Navy, Alan Bottorff earned his Bachelor of Business Administration – Healthcare Management from Strayer University, graduating Summa Cum Laude. He completed his MBA at Duke University, The Fuqua School of Business in December 2018. Mr. Bottorff has acquired 27 years of professional leadership, entrepreneurship, business, and team development experiences. He has successfully built two healthcare startup companies, urgent care practices and a Medicare-certified home health agency. Alan enjoys being involved in his community. Serving as Board Member, Trustee and Chairperson of a number of organizations, his willingness to give back has helped shape several executives and leaders in the healthcare and political landscapes” (Teledacyl.com).
“I wore this Country’s uniform for over two decades while serving in the United States Navy. Upon retirement, I promised myself that I would do whatever it took to help provide a better quality of life to our Veterans. I’m going to honor my commitment by providing better access to healthcare, housing and other Veteran services using innovative technology. This is not just another application added to the hundreds on the market today; this technology connects existing services on a single platform to simplify the way Veterans receive the help they need. No Veteran should be without the necessities to survive or have to live on the street after sacrificing so much. Period. At Teledactyl, we help change that narrative completely.”
Alan E. Bottorff, Chairman & Chief Executive Officer
Over 20 veterans take their lives each day, evidence of a suicide epidemic within our country, a problem specifically prevalent within the veteran community. The Suicide Awareness and Prevention flag is a symbolic combination of the Prisoner of War (POW) and Gold Star flags. The Gold Star is displayed on a service flag to indicate that a relative of the family was killed while serving in the armed forces during wartime. This is a conversation about warrior culture, removing stigma, expressing feelings, mental wellness, and what we can do to improve the situation together.
Captain Greg Zettler speaks about lessons of integrity as a priority of his education at the United States Naval Academy. Captain Zettler speaks about the significance of service and recommends one assumes that everyone on their team has noble intent. Captain Zettler stresses the importance of creating individual ownership of the collective mission. The best advice Captain Zettler has received was to not try to by perfect: to rely on his innate ability and the training he has been provided. Zettler’s advice for those entering the military is relevant life advice for any person, especially youth: “Come in ready to learn, ready to work hard, ready to embrace the opportunities that come your way. Strive to achieve the mission. Embrace your own ownership for the mission.” For Captain Greg Zettler, valor is the willingness to do the right thing in the face of potential consequences to yourself.
“Captain Greg Zettler became the USS Norfolk’s 16th Commanding Officer November 18, 2011. He graduated from the Naval Academy in May of 1994 with a Bachelor of Science in General Engineering. He has also earned a Master’s Degree in Leadership and Human Resource Development from the Naval Postgraduate School and a Master’s Degree in National Security Resources from the Industrial College of the Armed Forces. He has received several decorations in his career” (United States Navy).
Mr. Buster Olney shares his upbringing around the game of baseball, his career as a sports columnist covering the game, Hall of Fame voting and personal memories and stories from baseball legends Tony Gwynn and Jerry Coleman, including Gwynn’s gregarious personality and Coleman’s humility towards his service and respect for his comrades who did not return home from war.
Jerry Coleman: Marine Corps Lieutenant Colonel Jerry Coleman is the only Major League Baseball player to serve in combat in two wars, flying 57 combat missions in the SBD Dauntless Dive Bomber during World War II and 63 close air support and interdiction strike missions earning six more Air Medals during the Korean War. Lieutenant Colonel Coleman was selected into the National Baseball Hall of Fame as the Ford C. Frick Award recipient as an announcer in 2005 (Bob Feller Foundation).
Buster Olney: “Robert “Buster” Olney is a senior writer for ESPN.com and reporter for ESPN’s exclusive Sunday Night Baseball telecasts. He joined ESPN in June 2003 to cover baseball for all ESPN entities, including ESPN Radio, ESPNEWS and SportsCenter. He writes a daily column for ESPN.com and hosts the popular Baseball Tonight podcast as well as appearing on ESPN’s baseball studio show by the same name.
Olney’s two favorite events he has covered for ESPN are the 2014 and 2016 postseasons. “Particularly,” he said, “the historic performances of Madison Bumgarner.”
Olney began covering baseball in 1989 as the Nashville Banner’s beat reporter for the Triple-A Nashville Sounds. He later covered the San Diego Padres for the San Diego Union-Tribune (1993 – 1994) and the Baltimore Orioles (Baltimore Sun, 1995 – 1996). He arrived at ESPN after six years at the New York Times covering the Mets (1997) and the Yankees (1998 – 2001)” (ESPN Press Room).
Dr. Himesh Lakhlani speaks about lessons learned from the difficult situations his parents lived through. His parents taught him hard work, commitment, humility, and the value of family. Himesh is passionate about providing awareness to individuals who do not have a family history of pursuing higher education. Himesh defines valor as standing up for others who don’t have the ability to stand up on their own. Dr. Lakhlani emphasizes the importance of spending time with family. Dr. Lakhlani currently serves on the Board of Directors of the Bob Feller Act of Valor Award Foundation.
“Dr. Himesh Lakhani was born in a suburb of Mumbai, India and at the age of three immigrated with his parents and younger brother to Rochester, New York. While obtaining his bachelor’s degree at the University of Pittsburgh, he studied Political Science with a focus on Immigration Law. His passion and commitment to helping those that share similar backgrounds began in young adulthood. After graduating college, he went on to attend Medical School abroad and received a Doctor of Medicine in 2007 with a core focus of Infectious Disease, Healthcare Administration and Emergency Medicine. He was the first in his family to graduate High School, graduate College and graduate from Medical School. He became involved in higher education after graduation from medical school and has now spent over a decade in both health care and education. He was elected President and Chief Executive Officer for Jacksonville Management & Staffing in 2014, which operated as a Clinical and Administrative healthcare management firm. Since his relocation to Houston in 2017, he has served as Campus President of The College of Health Care Professions. He has been an advocate of access to health care and education to economically disadvantaged communities and has worked with affiliates of Mayor Turner’s office and the Harris County of Department of Public Health. Himesh was recently recognized as the “2019 Beacon of Light” by the University of Houston’s Immigration Law Center for his work with the immigration population in Houston, Texas” (Actofvaloraward.org).
Mr. Ed Randall speaks about his love of baseball while growing up, leading him to broadcast, report, and anchor professionally. He speaks about the challenges of reaching Major League Baseball, being grateful for his experiences and respecting the past. Mr. Randall shares his memory of making it to the Major Leagues when he filled in for Bob Shepherd, the legendary public address announcer at Yankee Stadium. Mr. Randall speaks about his close relationship with Baseball Hall of Famer Ernie Harwell and shares stories of National Baseball Hall of Famer and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams. Hear about how Ed’s battle with prostate cancer has led him to help men understand that there is a 99% cure rate when cancer is detected early through testing.
“Ed Randall is the Founder and CEO of Fans for the Cure, a 501(c)(3) charity he started in 2003 to promote prostate cancer awareness, provide free PSA screenings, and focus on the importance of early detection in achieving best outcomes.
Since the start of the charity’s annual Baseball Road Trip in 2009, Fans for the Cure has conducted nearly 1,500 prostate cancer awareness days/nights at MLB and Minor League ballparks around the country. In cooperation with the teams’ healthcare partners and the charity’s network of physicians and hospitals, Fans for the Cure has provided over 5,000 PSA screenings as part of this program.
In addition to his work with Fans for the Cure, Ed just began his forty-sixth season in baseball broadcasting, hosting Remember When with Rico Petrocelli on Sirius XM as well as Ed Randall’s Talking Baseball on New York’s WFANThe author of three books about baseball, Ed’s most recent release is Baseball for the Utterly Confused, published by McGraw-Hill. His most notable collaboration was conducting the interviews with celebrity golfers and well-known PGA players that provided the content for The Best Golf Advice I Ever Received by Donald J. Trump. (Crown, 2005)
A graduate of Fordham University, Ed is a member of the school’s College Alumni Board as well as an inductee in the All Hallows High School Hall of Fame. Ed and his wife Louisa reside in Westchester County, New York” (Fansforthecure.org).
“Baseball saw some of its biggest transformations in the 1940s and 50s. The introduction of night games, television, racial desegregation, and prevalence of jet travel all had a profound impact on how the game was forever played, observed, and experienced. Through these unprecedented times stood Carl Erskine, famed pitcher of the Brooklyn and Los Angeles Dodgers, and a witness to history.
Upon high school graduation in 1945, Erskine’s aspiration to play baseball came to a halt. With World War II in full swing, he was drafted into the U.S. Navy. A year later, Erskine introduced himself to the Navy recreation officer where he was stationed, and asked if he could play baseball. Already full of pitchers, he was turned away, but soon found consolation a few weeks later when scouted by the Dodgers and discharged from the Navy. Erskine spent the next year and a half in the minor leagues, at the time of widespread historical change in baseball.
While playing in 1947, baseball legend Jackie Robinson came on board the Brooklyn Dodgers as the first African American player in Major League history. After pitching in a challenging game in the spring of 1948, Robinson, who had watched Erskine pitch that game, befriended him and said, “You’re going to be with us real soon.” Truly inspired and with a great sense of optimism, Robinson’s prediction came true. Later that year, Erskine joined the Brooklyn Dodgers.
In the late ‘40s, television was beginning to permeate American society and millions of people started to see baseball in a new way. No longer restricted to archaic radio waves, the heroes of the sport now had faces to go along with their larger-than-life reputations–another milestone that would eternally change the nature of games.
Throughout the 1950s, air travel changed the way people moved across the country. With West Coast cities experiencing dramatic population increases, the major leagues started to expand. In 1957, the Dodgers left Brooklyn, New York and headed to California to become the Los Angeles Dodgers. Erskine, who did not like being away from his family, decided that relocating was not for him. He lasted only a year and a half and pitched his last game on June 4, 1959. His career spanned 12 seasons and accumulated 122 wins (.61).
After retiring from baseball, Erskine returned to his native Indiana and started his own insurance business in 1960. For 12 years, he coached the Anderson University Raven baseball program winning four championship games. While in the insurance business, he sharpened his business acumen and landed a job at Star Financial Bank serving as its president and director from 1982-1993. Erskine has also given his time and talents to many organizations, sitting on the board of trustees of Anderson University, St. John’s Medical Center, Fellowship of Christian Athletes and numerous other state and civic institutions.
Erskine was inducted into the Indiana National Baseball Hall of fame in 1979. In 2001, he wrote his first book, Tales from the Dodger Dugout, a collection of heartwarming stories recounting his days in the major leagues. Four years later, he penned his memoir, What I Learned from Jackie Robinson, sharing his memories of Jackie’s battle for racial equality and their enduring friendship that taught him important lessons about life.
The unique perspective of Erskine during baseball’s transformative years is a good reminder that change is something not to fear, but embraced with an open mind and heart (from CarlErskine.com).”