In standing before you tonight, I am reminded how quickly life passes! My 81 years have moved so rapidly and many of us have seen and experienced a explosive change in our city, communities, and our great state. Whether from pastures, to dirt roads, to highways or airways, we continue to be a thriving and robust city – certainly much is happening for which we all can be proud.
I wish, however, to talk to you tonight, not about the past or even the present, but the future. A future that hopefully, will be shaped by many of you in this room. My plea to each of you is the following:
Be people who represent leadership that is kind, ethical, disciplined, determined, competent, humble, and most importantly, full of integrity.
- It means LISTENING twice as much as SPEAKING, so as, to hear what the other person is really saying.
- It means, QUIETLY, doing things in the community, UNOTICED, like buying a meal for a stranger, or befriending someone at the Healing Place, the Soup Kitchen, or Salvation Army.
- It means SCHEDULING TIME in your day for the UNEXPECTED. Seeing a homeless person on the street can be construed as “I do not have time.” Yet, let us all try, hard, to learn to stop, to get to know the other person and see him or her AS A GIFT.
- It means treating the custodian in your building with the same respect as you would the CEO.
- It means tipping, APPROPRIATELY, all the time – no questions asked, no thanks needed.
- It means putting FAMILY FIRST. Life is too short to be concerned with accomplishments. It is much richer in the moments where love is extended, people are blessed, and community is shared. That is what I have tried to be for Mary Ann, my children, Gregory Poole employees, my friends, and this community. I have not always succeeded, but I keep trying to be a man who reflects the love that has been bestowed on me.
Thank you for this honor. And I want to thank all of you in this room, who have played important roles in my life. You have allowed me to share this special evening with all of you. Thank you.