04 May 2017

Delta Agent Lied to Us!

Most of us value Trust and Integrity.  A long-time friend of mine would say "Trust is never an issue until it is broken".  Very true statement. 

Over the past few months we have seen a battle between the Airline Industry and Customer Service.  This post is not about who is right or wrong, there is plenty between both parties, and neither side is truly innocent.  (Don't look for trouble and start flailing- United.  When told to leave your stroller in the jet-bridge, don't ignore then cause a scene on the plane-American.)

However, a recent event we experienced with Delta was not at that level of 'YouTube' streaming, it was an experience in poor customer service and integrity.

Bottom Line- Delta Agents lied when they said we could rebook our flight because our Delta Flight was cancelled to mechanical problems.  We could not wait until the next evening for the next Delta flight as we had minor-children waiting for us at the destination.

When I called to find out the process for reimbursement, I was told by a Delta Agent that "I was incorrect, that we were not entitled to reimbursement."  After several phone calls and continued pushback from Delta staff, they basically offered us a 'bone' to go away.  We paid over $1,050 to fly home, and Delta offered us a total of $900 in gift cards. 

Airlines do not seem to want to truly accept responsibility for what their employees say and do. 
Airlines are willing to accept this risk knowing that the public has few options when flying.
Airlines will 'apologize for the inconvenience', while knowing full-well there is no value behind it.

We were lied to by Delta.  I am just not sure from which of Delta's mouth we were lied from.  Trust is never an issue until it broken.  Unfortunately, I must fly Delta on occasion due to my job.  However, when I have choice, I will choose another airline if at all possible.  

Delta has lost my trust, and will take a long time to recover. 

P.S.  Below are messages between me and Delta Staff regarding our situation.  I continue to be amazed at the lack of Delta's willingness to accept responsibility.  We were only asking for an additional $145.79 more to cover the total cost of the flights to return home, as we were promised by the Delta Agent.  So much for Delta's CEO Edward Bastain's  commitment to customer service and integrity.


Mr. Bastain,
Due to the recent publicity of major airlines staff and paying customers, I am resending a previous e-mail I sent to you and the Customer Service Staff.  Unfortunately, I assume this is being filtered by staff and not personally read by MR. Bastain.  Although my case presented below is technically 'closed', I continue to be amazed as what was allowed to pass without acknowledgment of any wrong-doing on part of Delta.  As you are aware, an event recently happened where Delta staff were no aware of the law and threatened with arrest. 
Your staff, as mentioned below, lied to me and my family by stating we would be reimbursed for costs associated with multiple mechanical problems with our flight.  We did receive 'gift cards' from Delta and a refund of our Skymiles (because we were force to return home on another airline).  Yet, I was basically told I was wrong in 'assuming' we would be reimbursed.  I was lied to by Delta staff that my case was 'escalated' with no resolution.  I was lied to by Delta staff that there was 'nothing more Delta could do'. 
I am stunned that Delta Staff would refuse to honor their word.  I noted above, I am not expecting anything in return, as I received a 'small token' by Delta for the 'inconvenience'.  Service recovery is significantly more expensive for an organization than doing what is right in the first place.  I am sure you and your fellow CEOs of United and American are highly aware of this cost.  
As an active duty Army Soldier, I travel extensively and when permitted I attempt to travel Delta.  Honesty and Integrity are two major cornerstones of the Army Officer, as it is in any other high-reliable organization.  When I am confronted with a situation where I am personally lied to and realize it was for the sole purpose of expedience by the other party that I have trusted for years, it is truly unfortunate. 
Drew Winslow

-----Original Message-----
From: Contact Delta <ContactUs.Delta@delta.com>
To: plymouthrock1969 <plymouthrock1969@aol.com>; edward.bastian <edward.bastian@delta.com>
Sent: Wed, Dec 14, 2016 2:49 pm
Subject: Re: Dishonesty and Leadership (Case # 21829163/18201288) (KMM66643106V48519L0KM)

Hello Andrew,
RE: Case Number 21829163
Thank you for your latest correspondence. I understand our Delta representative mislead you on the types of reimbursement we cover. I realize you are upset with not getting to your destination as planned.
I have gone over this experience again and I am sad we aren’t able to resolve this matter to your satisfaction. We would have much preferred to please you, and I’m sorry.
We do appreciate your persistence but we will have to agree that we cannot find the right solution this time.
Drew, we value and appreciate your loyalty with Delta.
Mateo F. Ricks
Original Message Follows: ------------------------
Dear Mr. Bastain,
As a long-time loyal Delta Customer, it disappoints me that I must send this message to you personally.  My desire for compensation is small in scope, but it is the underlying lack of empowerment and willingness to blame other is what concerns me.  Over the years, my employer requires me to fly the least expensive airline between destinations, and if I choose another airline, then I pay the difference.  I almost always will pay the extra to fly Delta.  Unfortunately, the recent events may result in a change in this.
Sadly, this all started when our outbound flight (SAT-IND, 10NOV2016, DL4603) was delayed in SAT due to mechanical problems with the aircraft, which caused us to miss our connection in ATL, but were rebooked and arrived approximately three hours later.  Then upon return flight our departing flight from IND (IND-SAT, 14NOV2016, DL1411) again was delayed due to mechanical problems with the aircraft and were delayed resulting us in missing our connection in ATL to SAT.  We had minor children waiting for us at our destination (SAT).  We were offered a return flight on Monday which we did not agree to, and the Reservation Agent (Sue) attempted to make it right.  I was able to secure three seats on another airline to get us home, and gave this information to 'Sue'- who attempted to book those seats, but was unable to do so.  She then told us, based on our situation with minor children waiting at home, to purchase the tickets and call the Corporate Customer Care number and we would receive reimbursement. 
If Delta desires to be a "High Reliable Organization" in customer service, then Sue understands that how to accomplish this task, even though others in the Delta organization do not.  She realized it may cost Delta a little more actual money off the bottom line ($1,045.79) up front, but in the end would go a long way in service recovery for Delta Customers that are already dissatisfied due to Delta's inability to maintain their aircraft.  Perception is reality.  Sadly, all I was told was that agent (Sue) would be retrained and her incorrect information would addressed. 
Unfortunately, Delta has chosen another route of delay, defer, and deny responsibility.  All I hear from Delta is the same rote 'we apologize for the inconvenience, but we don't reimburse or pay for these types of expenses.  There is nothing more we can do.'  Delta has refunded that portion of our tickets.  Delta has offered us three $300 gift cards.  Those do go a long way, but unfortunately, I had to fight and argue and 'educate' Delta Customer Representative on Rule 240 to even receive the gift cards.  In the end we are still paying for the airfare that we were promised Delta would reimburse. 
Initially, my reaction was that the initial agent lied to us about Delta reimbursing us.  Now, I believe she was the employee who knew what Delta Customer Service is, yet those in the Corporate Customer Care who may need training in service recovery. 
Drew Winslow
DL FF 2179359316
Bottom line- We simply desire compensation of $145.79.  This is based on our purchase of three tickets to get to our destination (ATL-SAT) on another airline after Delta was unable to meet their obligation - $1,045.79.  Delta, after consuming much of my time and Delta Customer Service Representative's hesitation and initial refusal, offered three $300 gift cards totaling $900.  Therefore, $145.79 will compensate us in accordance with what we should have received had Delta abided by the Contract of Carriage and what we were told the Delta Reservation Agent in ATL initially.
Because Delta Airlines inability to maintain their aircraft, My family was delayed over 12 hours in reaching our destination.  Furthermore, if we had accepted Delta's recommended offer of another flight the next day, we would have been delayed 24 hours, cost Delta at least $300 in hotel bills and other ancillary costs in accordance with the Contract of Carriage.  This does not account for our family having to make arrangements for our two minor children who were waiting for us at our destination. 
After further reviewing my case, and based on Delta Airlines Contract of Carriage, rule 240, Delta (sole discretion) had the responsibility to arrange travel for my family (if acceptable) on another carrier.  Delta was either unable or unwilling to meet their legal obligation to help us reach our destination at the earliest possible time on "another carrier". 
It appears that the initial agent (Sue) who told us to go ahead and book our flight on the other flight and that Delta would reimburse us was in the right.  She was up front and honest in telling us that she (Delta) was not able to book that specific flight, but knew what Delta's responsibility was to get us home as close to our initial arrival as possible without impacting our minor children as possible.  Based on the facts as we now know them, it is the 'higher ups' that are now being dishonest in blaming a 'lower level' employee for not telling us the truth.  Unfortunately, weak leaders will always blame someone else in circumstances such as this instead of making a situation right.
Delta’s Liability in the Event of Schedule Changes, Delays and Flight Cancellations
In the event of flight cancellation, diversion, delays of greater than 90 minutes, or delays that Delta Domestic
will cause a passenger to miss connections, Delta will (at passenger’s request) cancel the
remaining ticket and refund the unused portion of the ticket and unused ancillary fees in the
original form of payment in accordance with Rule 260 of these conditions of carriage. If the
passenger does not request a refund and cancellation of the ticket, Delta will transport the
passenger to the destination on Delta’s next flight on which seats are available in the class
of service originally purchased. At Delta’s sole discretion and if acceptable to the passenger,
Delta may arrange for the passenger to travel on another carrier or via ground
transportation. If acceptable to the passenger, Delta will provide transportation in a lower
class of service, in which case the passenger may be entitled to a partial refund. If space on
the next available flight is available only in a higher class of service than purchased, Delta
will transport the passenger on the flight, although Delta reserves the right to upgrade other
passengers on the flight according to its upgrade priority policy to make space in the class of service originally purchased
Drew Winslow, LTC, MS
Army Reserve Personnel Proponent Officer
Fort Sam Houston, Texas 78244
-----Original Message-----
From: Contact Delta <ContactUs.Delta@delta.com>
To: plymouthrock1969 <plymouthrock1969@aol.com>
Sent: Tue, Dec 13, 2016 6:06 pm
Subject: Re: CC-Voice a Complaint-After Trip (KMM66614991V73747L0KM)

Hello Andrew,
RE: Case Number 21829163
Thanks for contacting us again. I’m happy to help with your escalation request regarding the Contract of Carriage agreement and compensation for your out of pocket expenses.
I've tried calling you again but was unable to reach you therefore I left a voicemail.
However, we do not cover for expensive such as childcare, food and flown plane tickets.
Feeling like you were heard is so important to us and I am sorry you feel otherwise. I've tried to see this from your point of view and respectfully, there’s nothing more for me to do. I’m sorry to dissatisfy you.
Please be advised that three Delta Choice gift code, from delta@deltachoices.com were authorized already for the amount of $300.
I know you are disappointed but I have gone over this experience again and I am sorry we aren’t able to resolve this matter to your satisfaction. We would have much preferred to please you, and I’m sorry.
Drew, Rachel and Rebekah, we do appreciate your persistence but we will have to agree that we cannot find the right solution this time.
Mateo F. Ricks
Original Message Follows: ------------------------
To whom it may concern,
I received no phone call, nor any message from Delta Airlines.  Once again, the trust between me and Delta Airlines is non-existent.  I was lied to by Delta during this process, and appear to have been deceived again by this message. 
I am forced to escalate this personally as I do not believe anything will be done as it appears that most Delta Employees are not empowered to make any decisions to make a situation right. 
One recommendation is to have Delta Employees read the various Carriage Agreements and compensation policy that I must abide by, but Delta does not.  I am entitled to compensation that Delta refuses to even address.
Drew Winslow
-----Original Message-----
From: Contact Delta <ContactUs.Delta@delta.com>
To: plymouthrock1969 <plymouthrock1969@aol.com>
Sent: Fri, Dec 9, 2016 5:36 pm
Subject: Re: CC-Voice a Complaint-After Trip (KMM65836276V57744L0KM)

Hello Andrew, 
RE: Case Number 21829163 
Thanks for sharing your experience. I've tried calling you again but was unable to reach you. I understand your concerns about the lack of information and not getting to your destination on time. That was not the experience we wanted you to have.
Our goal is to provide consistent and accurate information to our passengers at all times. Thanks for taking the time to let us know that our agent made false statement. I’m really sorry you didn’t get the service you deserved. 
When we receive reports like yours, we forward them to the appropriate leadership team for an internal review. Be assured I will share your experience with our Airport Customer Service and Flight Operations Leadership team in order to make adjustments to improve our service. 
Andrew, Rachel, and Rebekah, we want to give you the best service possible each and every time you travel. It’s our hope that your next trip will help restore your confidence in Delta. We appreciate your loyalty. 
Mateo F. Ricks
Original Message Follows:
Delta Air Lines Customer Care Form
Title: Mr
First Name: Andrew
Middle Name: G
Last Name: Winslow
Reply-To Email Address: plymouthrock1969@aol.com
Airline Program: DL
Frequent Flyer Number: 2179359316
Address: 21111 Malibu Colony
Address Line 2:
City: San Antonio
State/Province: TX
Postal Code/Zip: 78259-2006
Country: US
Telephone Country Code: US
Phone Number: 8434411523
Flight Date: 11/13/2016
Flight Number: DL1411
Origin City: IND
Destination City: SAT
Confirmation Number: F80GGT
Ticket Number: 0062342595064
Class of Travel: main_cabin
Response Required: yes
Message: I am following up from a conversation with a Delta Representative regarding the above DL flight on Sunday, 13NOV2016. This is the details from our recent experience with Delta Airlines, in which we were told was documented in the 'system', however it appears none of this was documented. This leads me to one of two conclusions- we were lied to by Delta that this information was NEVER actually documented, or the Delta 'system' is tremendously lacking that it cannot safely nor effectively capture comments entered into the Delta 'System'. Therefore, my lack of confidence in the Delta 'System', I am attempting to summarize our experience with Delta via this 'system' to ensure this information is captured. When our DL flight was significantly delayed in IND due to mechanical errors, the rebooking agent told us we could make our connection in ATL, which I knew to be ridiculous (20" to get from C to A in ATL) Therefore DL would not rebook us at that time- which resulted in us losing valuable opportunities to get home. After a second delay in IND due to mechanical issues, we finally made it to ATL where we (as expected) found the only DL offer was a flight out on Monday morning. There was NO offer to rebook on another airline. We were tired of hearing from the pilots and other DL statements: "With Atlanta being the busiest airport in the world, Delta has the ability to get you to your destination!" We kept hearing other passengers being rebooked on other airlines (AA, United). That was never offered to me. I kept expressing my urgency of having two minor children in San Antonio waiting for us and that a flight the next day was unacceptable. When I finally called another airline about seats to SAT, I was able to book three seats that were refundable. I contacted DL again and talked with SUE and reviewd our situation AGAIN. I gave her the flight information (AA, 681, three seats) and unfortunately she could not see them in the DL 'system'. She told us because of our situation ((two minor children were waiting for us at our destination) to travel home on those tickets and to call Corporate Customer Care and DL would refund us for the cost of those tickets. "Sue", the Delta Rep I called from a Delta 'Red Phone' on concourse B in ATL stated that she documented all the details about our issues in the 'system'. This morning I called Corporate Care number and talked with [Mary/Cherry?], she was helpful. As most representative do, she expressed regret and apologies. She had NO information in the system and told me that Delta does not reimburse, and that I would need to settle for a $200 gift card to Delta for each ticket ($600). The tickets I purchased were 1045.90. Why would I want a gift card for another Delta flight when this is how we are treated? We missed our connections on our outbound flight and was delayed for over two hours! This who problem stemmed from the DL agent's inability (or refusal) to place us on another carrier's flight when the opportunity was right there. Mary told me that she was only allowed to offer a $200 gift card that could be for a number of retail stores or AMEX. I refused and stated that there must be an higher authority that can discuss this problem and help make it right. As I saw it, Delta lied to me during this entire situation. I was told the information was captured in there system- It was not. I was told Delta was responsible and that due to the urgency of our situation I could book my tickets home and receive reimbursement from Delta- that was not the case. After continued discussion, Mary did some 'research' and came back with a $300 gift card offer, and a refund of our return flight tickets. This was much better, and was concerned by accepting this offer I was giving up my rights as someone who was lied to by Delta, arrived ten hours late and incurred significant costs (plane tickets, food, childcare expenses) due to Delta's refusal to help, yet only offer 'apologizes for the inconvenience'. I accepted this very small offer of $300 for each ticket (leaving me with a debt of $145.79) Unfortunately, when I received the link to activate these cards, there is NO AMEX selection. Only to retail vendors that I am not interested in! Knowing that an airline that I have been loyal to for over 25 years is willing to lie to me, tell me one thing on the phone, then deny it later is extremely disappointing. A company that is willing to refuse to make a situation right for a $145.79 is a company that seeks short-term gains over long-term success. I know that I am only one, but Delta is losing my business. Against my better judgment accepted Delta's offer in good faith that I would receive what was agreed upon. Unfortunately, like several times this weekend, I was deceived. I expect a phone call to discuss this situation and how Delta will make this situation right. Drew Winslow 843-441-1523 plymouthrock1969@aol.com
Submitted: Mon Nov 14 2016 12:15:26 GMT-0600 (Central Standard Time)
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30 November 2014

Thanksgiving 2014

The First Thanksgiving

From Edward Winslow's firsthand account of what is considered the first 'Thanksgiving' from 1621:  

"Our harvest being gotten in, our governor sent four men on fowling, that so we might after a special manner rejoice together after we had gathered the fruit of our labors. They four in one day killed as much fowl as, with a little help beside, served the company almost a week.

At which time, amongst other recreations, we exercised our arms, and many of the Indians coming amongst us, and among the rest their greatest king Massasoit, with some ninety men, whom for three days we entertained and feasted, and they went out and killed five deer, which they brought to the plantation and bestowed on our governor, and upon the captain and others. And although it be not always so plentiful as it was at this time with us, yet by the goodness of God, we are so far from want that we often wish you partakers of our plenty."  (http://www.eyewitnesstohistory.com/thanksgiving.htm)

When one studies the roots of today's 'Thanksgiving', we often think of the Pilgrims of Plymouth and the Rock that is located in Massachusetts.  However, we must not forget what, and who, they were thankful for. As Edward Winslow wrote concerning this first Thanksgiving, the Pilgrims were thankful first and foremost for God and His blessings He bestowed on them.  Unfortunately in today's American society, we continue to remove any reference to God, as seen in Christmas and Easter which are both reduced to an 'Elf on the Shelf' and a bunny.

The Pilgrims understood to whom Thanksgiving was due- God.  This small band of Puritans left their homes and sailed into the unknown, yet continued to give thanks after many husbands, wives, and children had died during that first winter.  Today in 21st Century America, we complain when the last item sells out at the store during Black Friday.

I am thankful for...

- A God loved me enough to send a Savior to die in my place for my sins.  The ultimate sacrifice.

- My wife of almost 21 years that continues to amaze me.  The past year, she managed to survive a tiny apartment with three kids while I was away in Texas.
- Three great children.  I pray that God gives me wisdom to set an example for them on how to be men of honor and integrity that the world desperately needs today, and a beautiful daughter that will be a strong and courageous woman who loves the Lord.

- A Mom and Dad who raised me (and my brother) in a Godly home. They instilled in us a lasting Christian Faith that I hope to pass down to my children.

- My wife's parents who raised a Godly daughter that have been a great example to me and our children through the years.  

- Friends and Family.  All the cousins, aunts and uncles that we have been able to see over the past few years since we lived close.  Although we could not make it this year to the annual Thanksgiving Feast, we are blessed with an ever-expanding extended family!

- Opportunities that have come across my path over the years.  Although the past year was difficult by being apart from the family and friends back in Kentucky, I made many new life-long friends in San Antonio during the Army-Baylor program.  I will never forget the times we spent together in both the academic and social settings.

-  Not having to fly back to Texas! The worst part of coming home last year was knowing I had to leave and return to Texas!  Not anymore!

I am truly thankful for the blessings I do not deserve.  As David wrote in his 'Psalm of Thanksgiving', it is not because we deserve anything, but because He is good!

Psalm 100

Make a joyful noise unto the Lord, all ye lands.
Serve the Lord with gladness: come before his presence with singing.
Know ye that the Lord he is God: it is he that hath made us, and not we ourselves; we are his people, and the sheep of his pasture.
Enter into his gates with thanksgiving, and into his courts with praise: be thankful unto him, and bless his name.
For the Lord is good; his mercy is everlasting; and his truth endureth to all generations.

20 April 2014

20 April 2014 Easter Sunday and the Nicene Creed

As a response to false teaching in the early church, n 325 AD, Christian leaders met at Nicea to discuss the growing heresy.  The heretical teaching denied the divinity of Christ and the Holy Spirit.  What resulted was the Nicene Creed.  It lays out beautifully the foundation of an orthodox and Biblical  foundation for Christian believers today.

I believe in one God, the Father Almighty, Maker of heaven and earth, and of all things visible and invisible.
And in one Lord Jesus Christ, the only-begotten Son of God, begotten of the Father before all worlds; God of God, Light of Light, very God of very God; begotten, not made, being of one substance with the Father, by whom all things were made.

Who, for us men and for our salvation, came down from heaven, and was incarnate by the Holy Spirit of the virgin Mary, and was made man; and was crucified also for us under Pontius Pilate; He suffered and was buried; and the third day He rose again, according to the Scriptures; and ascended into heaven, and sits on the right hand of the Father; and He shall come again, with glory, to judge the quick and the dead; whose kingdom shall have no end.

And I believe in the Holy Ghost, the Lord and Giver of Life; who proceeds from the Father and the Son; who with the Father and the Son together is worshipped and glorified; who spoke by the prophets.

And I believe in one holy catholic and apostolic Church. I acknowledge one baptism for the remission of sins; and I look for the resurrection of the dead, and the life of the world to come. Amen.

01 April 2014

Inspire a Shared Vision: Part Two of Five of my Leadership Development

Inspiring a Shared Vision is NOT Emotional Manipulation

Inspiring a shared vision is not the same as emotional manipulation.  Emotional manipulation, in my opinion, is selfish and me-oriented.  However, by instilling people with a passion for their vocation, then they will pass that on to their peers and patients or customers.  However, at the same time, I realize that looking at the future with ‘rose-colored glasses’ can discount the reality we live in today.  I can look back and see the times where working through difficult time with clinical staff who did not understand the reality of the business side of healthcare. 

            This is all too common in my experience.  Balancing where we want to go as an organization and staff and getting excited about where our bus was going, yet at the same time keeping expectations grounded in the present.  This is where I struggle the most, and my LPI results definitely demonstrate this shortfall.  The Data Summary shows that I rated this area last (46) of the five domains.  Furthermore, my individual observers also rated this area lowest, however higher than my self-assessment (51.9). 

            There were two comments from observers that were quite lengthy and extremely useful.  They capture the essence of where I need to improve.  Both observers pointed out that I do have a passion for our profession (rehabilitation, wellness and disease management), and they saw it in my actions and interest in the patients/customers.  However, the area that I needed to improve on was being able to articulate this passion and drive to younger and new employees.  Being able to show others who are new to the field, and could either leave the field due to discouragement or build on my excitement and passion.

            I see this truly borne out during March Madness and the basketball tournament.  A common theme we sometime here is the ‘Coaching Lineage’.  We saw Steve Alford coaching UCLA, who played and studied under Bobby Knight at Indiana University.  Coach ‘K’ from Duke also studied under Bobby Knight.  Then there is (as of this writing!) Billy Donovan, coach of the Florida Gators who played for, and was an assistant to, Rick Pitino (Louisville).  This is certainly true in academia and the Army-Baylor program.

            We look back and see those who are currently serving at higher levels and are passionate about our profession. Those same people will tell you it is because in their past a mentor or boss inspired them to do something greater with their lives.  They pulled out from their ‘student’ a common purpose that they shared.  I can see this more so in my civilian time, rather than my military time.  One of the greatest influences in my life, both professionally and spiritually, is someone who started out as my boss, but I now count as a best friend.  Mark instilled in me a passion for what we did in disease management for our small community of Beaufort, SC.  He was able to get the right size bus and as he (and eventually we) sought people to get on the bus, if they did not express a certain passion for our bus, then they were not allowed to get on. 

Once we filled up the bus, Mark’s greatest gift was to keep the right people on the bus and maintain the excitement we all shared.  He would continually remind us of our common purpose.  He is a gentle and compassionate man, a true servant leader.  His ability to listen to people helps him to maintain the commitment we all share. 

With my interest in human resources, leaders like Mark always pose many problems!  When you have a leadership mindset as Mark does, it becomes a magnet for the highest performer in the hospital, or organization.  When doing rounds on the hospital floors I was always being asked if there were any job openings in our department.  Those who asked these questions were the high performers in the organization!  Secondly, our employees were always receiving the highest performance ratings, not because of ‘rating inflation’, but because they were persistently exceeding the quantitative standards set forth! 

In summary, I learned a lot from Mark during my almost seven years working for, and with, him.  If I were to quit the Army today, I would not hesitate to work for him again!  I know this is an area that I need to improve.  I must recognize that by instilling a passion for our mission is not ‘emotional manipulation’, it is helping people recognize what motivates them.  And when this is accomplished, that employee may realize that he or she is on the wrong bus.  And that is OK!  That is part of servant leadership- helping people to improve themselves may help them get off my (WRONG) bus and get on RIGHT bus!


Model The Way: Part One of Five of my Leadership Development


The foundation of my leadership is much bigger than simply emulating someone.  From a spiritual standpoint, Jesus say to me, “Well done, good and faithful servant.  You were faithful with a few things, I will put you in charge of many things; enter into the joy of your Master.”   (Matthew 25: 23, New American Standard Bible)  God has brought into my life people that have invested in my in order to grow my skills, and now it is my turn to invest in others.  I do not believe in coincidences, God has placed these people in my life for a purpose.

Modeling the way is learning the good, bad and the ugly from those who are in life.  However, in the end, I ask myself what is it can I learn from that person?  Growing up, it was not always perfect, far from it.  I witnessed the struggle my parents went through as my Dad was ‘climbing the corporate ladder’ as he balanced family, job, church, and even elected office.  I have learned valuable lessons from watching my Dad as I grew up.  Even though the early years were difficult, I saw a Dad (and Mom) who worked through their difficulties, yet were committed to each other’s.  Their faith and vows were the bedrock of their lives and our family. 

As I married, I took the ‘good, bad, and the ugly’ from the experiences growing up and took time to learn from each of them.  I learned what not to do in a marriage and daily work to minimize those aspects.  The great things I witness my Dad doing, I do the best to emulate those.  Finally, there will always be ugly times, times where everything is going wrong and there is no one to blame- this is what I call life!

Whether it is being gone for long periods of time from deployments or working through my wife’s miscarriages; I must show patience, understanding, grace and love to those around me.  God has shown me immense grace on a daily basis, and that requires me to do the same to others.  I love my parents, wife, family and those I count as friends.  Like a clay model, modeling the way is a continual process, and hope my children see in me what I saw in my Dad.

23 March 2014

Weekly Thoughts for 23 March 2014

How I reacted when taking the Finance I (Semester 1) and Healthcare Operations (Semester 4) Exams

1.  Ninety-Nine.  Just like a deployment countdown, this week we crossed the triple-digit mark.  Tuesday was a great day as it marked 99 days until I pull up stakes at the Alamo KOA and head north.  It is truly downhill from here.  I will miss my friends in Elizabethtown and the deep friendships that have developed over the past five years. 

2.  Vows.  A very special Aunt and Uncle are celebrating their 50th Wedding Anniversary this weekend.  They are a true example of 'through sickness and health, 'til death do us part.'  Something that is missing in today's marriages.  A while back, my uncle had a tragic accident with a closed-head injury.  Through much prayer and support he recovered with only a loss of speech ability and some physical function that requires him to use a wheelchair for longer walks.  Today, when the world would expect the wife or husband to the spouse into an assisted living facility, my Aunt (with much help from family) persevered as a loving wife and has never left his side.  He has volunteered at the local hospital for years and they are constantly travelling with their kids and being active grandparents!  Congratulations!

3.  Visit.  My wonderful wife is coming for a visit soon.  The kids are visiting their Gram and Grandad in Beaufort, SC and she is coming down.  Even though I will be in school occasionally, she will have time to relax in 'the trailer down by the river'.  Being an avid reader, she will have time to relax and read without interruptions!

4.  Oral Examinations.  For some reason, I am not overly concerned about the Orals Examinations at the end of our Didactic Year.  On June 20th, we will individually meet with a panel of examiners for about 45" where they will quiz us on our classwork, projects, papers and knowledge of the past year.  The purpose is to see if we are able to adequately bring together the various theories and concepts and articulate them as a potential health care executive. 

      This is not unlike my last orals examination that occurred in 1995 for my first Master's Degree at the University of Florida!  I was grilled for two hours by two physicians, two PhD Physical Therapists, the Assistant Dean and my Thesis Chair.  That was painful.  The first hour was my research presentation on 35mm slides (old school!) that was frequently interrupted by the board for questions and clarification.  We took a break where they huddled to plan their attack on my research, methods and results!  Then we reconvened where they drilled deeper into my written thesis and picked it apart.  When that painful process was over, they excused me from the room, and debated whether my work was worthy.  Finally they brought me to come back in, congratulated me on successful passing my orals board, then gave back my written thesis with a list of required corrections prior to publication. 

     The bottom line, is to prepare and not start digging a hole that only gets deeper.  Be honest and up front.  Come across confident, yet not arrogant.  Speak clearly and concisely and with command of the topic.  We are not expected to be master's of everything, but we should at least be experts of our projects, papers and assignments.

Akuna Matata!

05 March 2014

2 March 2014 Weekly Reflection

Weekly Reflections

1.  Grace- as I completed my second Half-Marathon, The HEB Alamo Half Marathon, I had a different attitude about those running around me.  In the past I would routinely think in my mind, "I can't believe that person is out here running, he should spend more time away from the buffet.!"  However, I have noticed as I have gotten older, I now find myself thinking, 'Good for you, you are doing today what most people will never do."  I believe that God has given me an improving ability to think the best of people and have grace in my thoughts.

2.  Patience- my i-Phone died Saturday morning.  It would not restart after charging overnight.  Researched the web, went to a couple of stores to find an answer.  The last store told me to go to the Apple Store at the mall and they would probably replace it for free.  I was in panic mode as I was preparing for the above race and had all my running pod-casts and music all ready to go.  I was panicking!  However, after 30 minutes at the Apple Store, I had a new iPhone and all my 'stuff' restored and was ready to go!

3.  Family-  It has been a tough year being away from the family.  However, when I do get back home, I find that the time is very enjoyable.  I do not take for granted my wife or kids.  I love them all very much and cannot wait to get back to them each time I visit. 

4.  Friends-  Like any military school spending a year with my future colleagues at the Army-Baylor program, some will become friends for a lifetime.  I look forward to continually growing friendships.

5.  Faculty-  There are three teachers I have had throughout my academic life.  My H.S. Swim Coach and geography teacher, my Graduate School Research Advisor, and now will have two new mentors to add to my list.  These individuals have invested both professional and personal time in my growth and maturity.

18 August 2013

The Trip

Our 2013 Summer trip from Elizabethtown, KY to San Antonio, TX was a fun time for all of us.  The only drawback was at the end I would say good-bye as the flew back to E'Town and I started my studies at Fort Sam Houston.

This was our itinerary.  Kind of like the Griswold's trip to Wally World!

22 May:  Kids left school early and we headed to Memphis, TN.  Had a great dinner at the 'Commissary' where we all enjoyed Memphis BBQ.

23 May:  short trip to Vicksburg, MS.  We had the luxury (or curse!) of towing our camper- so we were able to have more substantial lunches on the road.  R always wanted to pick the flowers whenever we would stop.  We toured the Vicksburg Battlefield- which surprisingly even Rachel tolerated it OK.  

It was a good tie in to our time in St Louis where US Grant (Grant's Farm) spent a few years getting his family and life together before re-entering the Army.  Then flash-forward to Vicksburg where Grant would overcome the ghosts of his past and achieve victory here that would change his life, and the life of our Country, forever!

24 May:  To quote Clark Griswold, we crossed the "Mighty Missisip" but did not sing 'Old Man River' into Louisiana.  Of course each state R wanted to be sure never to miss the sign!  We took a slight exit detour at West Monroe, LA.  Home of Duck Dynasty!  The boys were watching a Duck Dynasty marathon in the car for most of the time, so why not!  The building is exactly as it is on TV with plenty of people taking pictures and posing with Si's Vietnam-era 2.5 ton Truck (Duec-and-a-half).  Like they say, do not be surprised if one of the Robertson's show up in the showroom and says hi!  And sure enough, Jep (Baby Brother) came out and wandered around and posed for pictures!

We pressed through the Louisiana Bayou's into Texas, and stopped so Rachel could see the big 'Welcome to Texas' sign.  Our next stop was Dallas, where we would spend some time checking out the town.  It was Friday afternoon and we were heading against the traffic going into Dallas.  The boys were amazed at how far we were away from the city when we could see the buildings downtown.

25 May:  Location, Location, Location!  Our hotel was perfect- right off the DFW Light-Rail in Irving.

26 May:  we headed into downtown Dallas.  We decided to split up- Beck went with the boys to the 'Sixth Floor Museum' and Rachel and I went to the Dallas World Aquarium.  Of course, we had to walk around Daley Plaza for a while so the boys could listen and watch all the conspiracy theorists sell their wares!  Rachel was not very interested, except for the flowers planed in various areas!

The aquarium was fun, except that Rachel was very upset that there were 'Land Animals' in the Aquarium.  This was totally unacceptable to this six year old!  She even made her opinion known at the lynx exhibit, that I thought was cool!

27 May- on to San Antonio!  The family realized how big Texas was by just the 'little jaunt' from Dallas to San Antonio.  Five hours and a picnic stop north of Austin, and a near-scare of running out of gas on the Austin Bypass- we made it to our final stop- the Staybridge Suites- Fiesta Texas.  A great place in a great location.  A three bedroom suite, so we had plenty of room to stretch out and have our own space.  We dropped the trailer and took a short trip to Fort Sam Houston where I signed in and got my inprocessing paperwork.  Where to go for dinner? So many choices- so I took all fo them to Taco Cabana- my favorite for a quick uniquely SA- and the boys could get a real bottled Coke from Mexico.

28 May- Memorial Day.  We headed to Fredricksburg, Texas and enjoyed lunch at Winslow's and finally  took the boys to a place where they could shop for a real 'Bowie Knife'.  And they certainly had a great time shopping for their 'find'.  We also visited the Nimitz Museum of the Pacific along with the George H. W. Bush Navy Display.  Who would of thought that such a great museum of naval history would be in the middle of the Texas Hillcountry? 

29 May- we stopped by the Fort Sam ticket office and bought our discounted tickets to all the stuff to do around SA. We headed downtown and took the trolley tours that included the missions and other areas of interest.  We finally toured the famous 'Alamo'.  Like most people who spent years studying the importance of the phrase 'Remember the Alamo' when you finally see it in person usually say 'where is the rest of it?'  It is somewhat dissapointing when you first see it.  Surrounded by the typical cheesy Ripley's museums, wax museums, Fuddruckers, Subway, McDonalds, etc, it is surrounded by true commercial Americana!!!  However, once inside, it is a very impressive place to imagine what is was like to be there in the Spring of 1836.

30 May- Headed to Fiesta Texas.  Had a great time where Rachel was able to ride most of the rides we could.  It was great that the kids here were still in school, so it was not too crowded.  The last time we where here was in 1995 where Beck and I went when I was at Army AMEDD Officer Basic Course.

31 May- Beck's birthday.  We kind of relaxed.  The boys  and I took the trailer to the KOA-Alamo Campground and got my space lined up.  Now I am officially living in a 'Trailer down by the River'.  We then went to Fort Sam and we visted the AMEDD Museum.  They had a special exibit called 'Dust Off'- the history of Aeromedical Operations. They enjoyed it, as I hoped they would.  

1 June- Road Trip!  We drove out of the Hill Country and to the beginning of West Texax.  Where your radio's scan button will go 'round and round and round'!!!  Headed to Langtry, Texas.  Home of Judge Roy Bean, 'The Law, West of the Pecos'.  It is 150 miles due west on the Rio Grand.  It is out of the way, but is part of our history.  It's significance to us is that is was the southern railway route to California.  And Langtry was the last stop before heading into the desolate West.  Judge Roy Bean (made famous in the movies) was known as the Hanging Judge.  He was also famous for hosting boxing matches (not illegal), but would hold them during the summer months when the Rio Grand was dried up and people could gamble on them in the river bed (in Mexico) where he could get away with it!!!

2 June- Sea World day!  Rachel really enjoyed this.  In 1998, I went here with a friend of mine (Mike Speir) when I was here for more 'Army Training'.  It was here that I bought our oldest son (Joshua) his first stuffed animal:  a little Shamu that he would call 'opu'.  Michael's joke of the day was after watching the Shamu show, when exiting, one coulde 'Dine with Shamu' at the restaurant.  He said that he wanted a fish sandwich, and they should call it 'Dine ON Shamu'.

3 June- Relaxing day, went to one of our favorite restaurants called the 'Magic Time Machine' on the northside.  It is a theme-style restaurant where the servers dress up and act the part.  Our waiter was 'Ace Ventura:  Pet Detective' and he was very good- including standing on the back of Michael's chair and acted like a monkey!  We spent most of the day using our second-day pass on the trolley spending more time touring the missions.  We also watched 'The Price of Freedom' at the RiverCenter IMAX about the Alamo.  Not sure if Rachel really appreciated it, but the boys did.  

4 June- a sad day as I dropped them off at the airport for their trip home.  It was Michael and Rachel's first trip on an airplane, but wish it were on better terms.  This year will go fast and will be able to go home frequently.  It was a great two weeks.  It is has also been a difficult few weeks.  We said good-bye to some of the best friends we have had in a long time, said goodbye to our home for the past three years, and are now separated for a year.  It will go fast, and we all look forward to where God will lead us on our next adventure this time next year.