Last Day of Movember

Today is the last day of Movember, and though I enjoyed growing the facial hair of a long-haul trucker, the time has come for it to end.

We have an official Movember team, and are trying to raise money in awareness of prostate cancer. Even if you don’t have money to donate, please like and share our video; after enough shares, eventually one person will donate ­čÖé

Or donate to my personal Mo-space: https://www.movember.com/us/donate/payment/member_id/4284225/

Thanks!

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Movember Special

Another year, another Movember – here’s to raising awareness! As I get older I find that I love giving back more and more every year, and what better way to give back than by growing a dirty upper lip and raising money toward prostate cancer.

Here is our week one, day one picture:

 

Oh, and to follow up to my last post, I couldn’t go a week without a phone, I ended up just holding on to it until I bought the iPhone 5.

Remembering a Friend

How do you measure someones life? Is it by self improvement, or is it by the change you make in others’ lives? For most, just having positive self improvement is a milestone, but making a change in others lives is an accomplishment that can resonate farther than anything else. Chuck Cook was not only one to make a drastic┬áimprovement in his life, but reached into others’ lives and helped improve theirs as well.

I first met Chuck during our orientation days at the University of San Diego. Being that USD is a “traditional” school, students ages range mostly 18-22 years old; it is very rare to see anyone past their mid 20’s. Myself, being 28 at the time when I transferred to USD, and Chuck being 31, we met because we had the “hey, you don’t look like you just graduated high school” look from across the room. We immediately became friends and stuck together throughout the rest of our time at USD.

Being non-traditional students, transfers, and living off-campus gave us a huge disadvantage for meeting and relating to students, so we both wanted to be as involved as possible. Chuck was the only person that I knew that that was involved in more clubs and organizations than I was, and had this uncanny ability to balance all of it. Granted, anyone that knew him knows that he would run around as this big stress ball, but that was his way of balancing all of it, and damn was he good at it.

While at USD, Chuck served as a mentor for a lot of the younger students and helped them in more ways imaginable. We were both in unique situations being undergraduates later in our lives, being able to work with and become friends with people 10-15 years younger than us. He would serve as a mentor, teacher, counselor, and most importantly, friend, to everyone he knew and worked with. He improved lives, and for that will forever be remembered.

Chuck was not only an inspiration because of the change that he made to others while at USD, but also because of the change in his personal life. I am not going to go into great detail about his amazing transition, but just know that he made a complete 180 for the absolute best. Not everyone follows the traditional path of college right out of high school, but for him to come back to college in his 30’s was a major success. He not only went back to school and graduated with a B.S. in Accounting, but got a job at KPMG, one of the best accounting firms in the nation. I can not even begin to explain the major success story that Chuck is, but just know that it is hands down one of the most motivating stories that I have ever witnessed.

Another way that Chuck influenced me personally was the introduction to the LGBT community. While serving in the military, I had friends that were gay, but never knew anyone that could openly talk about it. I can say that Chuck opened my eyes to the community and shared with me, not only the lifestyle, but the struggles of everyday life. I was honored to have such a close friend that was able to openly talk about it, and help me understand the LGBT community.

I know that if Chuck could have lived longer, he could have made an impact on so many other lives, as he has mine, but I also know that his story and memory will forever live on and help others in their lives as well. Rest in peace, Chuck: you were an amazing individual.

The Power of Philanthropy

Giving back has to be one of the most rewarding things I have been able to do in my life. I feel very lucky for all that I have accomplished over the years, and I attribute a lot of it to others being there for me along the way. Because of people like this, it makes me want to try harder to help out others on their journey throughout life as well.

No one can ever make it through their life without the assistance of others, and now that I am in my current position, I want to be the person that is helping others to exceed as well. A lot of people that I know don’t want to give back because they think it will cost too much; philanthropy can be more than giving someone something, it can be as simple as an attitude change.

One of the downsides of the military is that life is tough, and a lot of people get treated poorly as they come up through the ranks. When people get to the management , they tend to treat others the way that they were treated along the way. One of the things I told myself that I would never do when I got to a management level is to treat people poorly, but that I would be the buffer zone and try to break the stigma of bad behavior. I see my willingness to treat them better as a way of giving back to them, for the great work that they do for me. This has allowed me to excel at my job, not only in the military, but in my civilian life as well.

Philanthropy can be in form of other things as well. For instance, I created a little goodie-bag full of granola bars, chapstick and hygiene items. I also wrote a note in it, saying “keep your head up, people care about you.” I handed it off to the homeless man in the wheelchair along my drive home, the look on his face gave a real sense of satisfaction, and I know I made a difference in his day.

All it takes is a moment of your time, and you will make a difference in someones life, and they will remember it forever.