Tag Archives: Service
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
Rear Admiral Frank Thorp speaks about his family’s longstanding service, within and outside of the military. He speaks about the principle of America’s service men and women serving and defending our Constitution, representing freedom and people’s desire to fight for it and give up what they have, as embodied by Bob Feller. Rear Admiral Thorp speaks about being in the Pentagon on 9/11 and reminds listeners that valor is not a word to be taken lightly.
“In his final active duty assignment in the Navy, Rear Adm. (ret) Frank Thorp, IV was the U.S. Navy’s Chief of Information (CHINFO), serving as principal spokesman for the Department of the Navy and providing strategic communication counsel to the Secretary of the Navy and the Chief of Naval Operations. He led the Navy’s Public Affairs community of more than 2,500 active and reserve officer, enlisted, and civilian communication professionals.
Prior to this assignment, Thorp served as the deputy assistant secretary of defense (joint communication) where he was responsible for overseeing Department of Defense (DoD) efforts to shape department-wide communication doctrine, organization, and training for the joint force. As director of the strategic communication integration group (SCIG) secretariat, Thorp also led DoD efforts for strategic communication auspices of the deputy secretary of defense, DoD strategic communication plans.
He served as the special assistant for public affairs to the chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff from 2003 until 2005. In 2003 during Operation Iraqi Freedom, Thorp was deployed to Qatar as the chief of media for U.S. Central Command (forward).
From 2000 to 2003, he served as special assistant for public affairs to the Chief of Naval Operations. His other assignments have included serving as the public affairs officer for the Bureau of Naval Personnel; Naval Surface Force, U.S. Pacific Fleet; Joint Task Force Middle East; Cruiser Destroyer Group 12 and USS Dwight D. Eisenhower (CVN 69). He has also served as director of public affairs and congressional notification at the Navy Office of Legislative Affairs.
Thorp has also had several previous assignments at the Navy’s Office of Information. As a commander, he served as assistant chief of information for media operations. Other assignments include executive assistant to the chief of information, national news desk action officer, and aide to the chief of information.
Prior to specializing in public affairs, Thorp served as a surface warfare officer forward-deployed to Sasebo, Japan.
In 1999, Thorp completed a fellowship at Hill & Knowlton Worldwide Public Affairs in Washington D.C. He has a master’s degree in broadcast journalism and public affairs from American University and a master’s degree in national security and strategic studies from the Naval War College. Thorp is a 1986 graduate of the Defense Information School and a 1981 graduate of the U.S. Naval Academy with a degree in operations analysis.
His decorations include the Defense Superior Service Medal (2), Legion of Merit (2), Meritorious Service Medal (3), Joint Service Commendation Medal (2), and the Navy Commendation Medal (3)” (United States Navy website).
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).
We were very fortunate to feature Mrs. Anne Feller, the widow of Mr. Bob Feller, on the American Valor Podcast. Mrs. Feller shares incredible stories of Mr. Feller’s recollection of his experiences in World War II and pride in his country, sharing insight into what made individuals like Mr. Feller and World War II and Korean War veteran Mr. Ted Williams so special.
Afterwards, hear about the upcoming baseball season.
On the American Valor Podcast, Sports Journalist Lindsay Berra spoke about her career decision and experience covering sports at the highest levels. She talks about lessons learned from her grandfather Yogi, one of the greatest baseball catchers of all time: humility, integrity, citizenship, treating all people equally, and many more. One special story includes Yogi’s reflection on his military service during World War II after watching the movie Band of Brothers. Mr. Berra did not frequently speak about his time in the military. Lindsay shares with listeners the wisdom of Yogi-isms, the educational components of the Yogi Berra museum, and how sports like baseball help to build communities.
“Lindsay Berra is a freelance sports journalist based in Montclair, NJ. At MLB.com from January 2013 through January 2018, she established herself as an authority on baseball fitness and injuries and appeared frequently on MLB Network to discuss her stories. From 1999 through 2012, she was a senior writer for ESPN Magazine, covering primarily ice hockey, tennis, baseball and the Olympics. Lindsay received her undergraduate degree in journalism from the University of North Carolina at Chapel Hill, where she played varsity softball and men’s club ice hockey. She is the oldest grandchild of Yogi and Carmen Berra and is a board member at the Yogi Berra Museum and Learning Center in Little Falls, NJ” (lindsayberra.com).