Friday, January 1, 2010

Willie P Woods - Making a Difference

Where are you, Willie?  How's your life?

Turning our calendars always brings to mind personal memories.  The media documentaries of the people and events of the previous year are interesting, but its our personal events which mean the most.

Thank you, Hilde, for your first post on "making a difference". 

All of us experience success and failure with our immeditate friends and families.  But for me, its the "what if" for previous friends and acquaintances that consume my thoughts.

I hadn't realized how important these people were to me until I left the Air Force and, after time, received infrequent emails from the folks I worked with.  Just a few...

Phil in the Dakotas, while short in stature, was a giant as a mentor and supervisor.

Kathy, a Cubbies fan, went on to make a significant contribution to our Middle East military effort.  Our going our seperate ways hit me harder than I could have imagined.  Our last contact was her telling me she finally married and had twins, and I'm not even going to try and describe my joy in that.

Steve who's now married, has kids and is a teacher.

...and so many others...Kirby Jesky, Roy Holifield, Sharon, Darrel Beford, Hank, Tony Del Sorbo, Claire (man eater), Mike Mezual...the list goes on.

But, Willie, how did you fair?

Except for my post here in the not too distant past about the Vietnam-era rifle, I've avoided talking about my military work.  Yet, when I think back to those 20+ years, Willie is my first thought.

How a kid from a New York City ghetto (?), with no mechanical aptitude and never even having a drivers license got into aircraft maintenance still boggles my mind.  But, he did and I was assigned to teach him the job.

To this day I don't understand how or why, but the other technicians who also worked for me irrationally decided Willie wasn't good enough.  This both pissed me off that they had this opinion and that I was now challenged with trying to keep a good maintenance team working together.

No need going into details, but Willie proved after a couple of months that he was pulling his weight and a bit more. 

Willie, you made a difference in my life.  Thank you.

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