Tuesday, November 18, 2008

Making a Difference

I have a good friend who is one of the few members of law enforcement who are tracking down and capturing the sexual predators who hunt children on line. Most police officers have more than a lions share of courage, but this man's courage is even more impressive because he keeps on doing his job, knowing that the problem is so overwhelming that he isn't even making a dent in it. But the satisfaction comes from knowing he and his team stands against a true evil.

We face another crisis in this country, a crisis that is slowly destroying us. We are dying of the good easy comfortable life. Those of us that have chosen to step off that conveyor belt of doom have become an example of what is possible for eveyone. Like my friend the policeman we are on the front line against a problem that is overwhelming. Even if we are not trying to we are an example, we are proof that being sick and tired of being sick and tired is not the way things have to be.

Just by pulling ourselves up out of a life of poor health we are setting an example. The path we blaze is a path that others can follow. It isn't long after you start living a healthy lifestyle that people start asking you, "How did you do it". They will say things like, "I could never do that, I have no will power". Or "I can't do that because being overweight is in my genes". We can always come up with an excuse why we can't become healthier. Or we can just believe we can and make it happen.

When I first took over the Accounting and Finance Squadron at Nellis AFB in Nv, I had a squadron filled with desk riders just barely staying ahead of the military weight standards and the most physically out of shape squadron on the base. This was in 1990 and we hadn't had a war since 1975 when Vietnam ended. This squadron was the worst but the rest were not much better. These 'warriors', didn't think warrior, they thought 8 to 5 job and go home to a big supper and TV.

They put me there because I had just graduated from the First Sgt Academy and no one else wanted the job. I wasn't real popular for a while because I took my job seriously. I was responsible for their health and fitness, as well as their ability to mobilize to a combat zone and do their regular jobs as well as fight a war.

I started a mandatory 3 mile run/walk/crawl every morning before work. Oh did I get a cold shoulder for a while. I worked with each and every person to make them warriors. After a while most of them were starting to enjoy their 'new selves' and the pride started returning. At the end of two years we were the most fit squadron on the base, we won every base level competition and brought home the "Commanders Cup", as the fittest squadron on the base.

One of my troops was chosen to play on the Air Force Track and Field team and another won the Mr Nevada Bodybuilding Competition. Most important of all when the first gulf war broke out to liberate Kewait, I sent warriors to the battle, not out of shape desk riders. I was proud to say everyone of my troops came back alive. Most of them came to thank me for getting them ready.

I was promoted to the job of Hospital Group First Sgt soon after this. In that position I could make more of a difference at base level. It was a satisfying position and I had the chance to do some good work there. But like in the rest of our country the problem was so vast that although I could do what I thought was needed in my small circle of influence, I couldn't even make a dent in the problem.

None of us can't stand alone against any of the problems of our world, but if enough of us believe in living a healthy lifestyle and just be good examples we can make a difference. We can be the circle of light at the top of the hole that so many people have dug for themselves. We just have to have the courage and determination to say there is a better way and it's attainable with just a little effort and a belief that we are worth that effort.

Thanks for reading.

Determined Panda

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