I got an email forwarded to me by Dr. Todd Stojeba of WingHaven Chiropractic. It stopped me in my tracks and I couldn’t think of anything else to do but have my own memorial service for a true hero. Below is the entire email. I don’t know who wrote it but thank you.

Darrell "Shifty" Powers

Darrell "Shifty" Powers

One of the “Band of Brothers” soldiers died on June 17, 2009.

We’re hearing a lot today about big splashy memorial services.

I want a nationwide memorial service for Darrell “Shifty” Powers.

Shifty volunteered for the airborne in WWII and served with Easy Company of the 506th Parachute Infantry Regiment, part of the 101st Airborne Infantry. If you’ve seen Band of Brothers on HBO or the History Channel, you know Shifty. His character appears in all 10 episodes, and Shifty himself is interviewed in several of them.

I met Shifty in the Philadelphia airport several years ago. I didn’t know who he was at the time. I just saw an elderly gentleman having trouble reading his ticket. I offered to help, assured him that he was at the right gate, and noticed the “Screaming Eagle”, the symbol of the 101st Airborne, on his hat.

Making conversation, I asked him if he’d been in the 101st Airborne or if his son was serving. He said quietly that he had been in the 101st. I thanked him for his service, then asked him when he served, and how many jumps he made.

Quietly and humbly, he said “Well, I guess I signed up in 1941 or so, and was in until sometime in 1945 . . . ” at which point my heart skipped.

At that point, again, very humbly, he said “I made the 5 training jumps at Toccoa, and then jumped into Normandy . . . . do you know where Normandy is?” At this point my heart stopped.

I told him yes, I know exactly where Normandy was, and I know what D-Day was. At that point he said “I also made a second jump into Holland , into Arnhem .” I was standing with a genuine war hero . . . . and then I realized that it was June, just after the anniversary of D-Day.

I asked Shifty if he was on his way back from France , and he said “Yes. And it’s real sad because these days so few of the guys are left, and those that are, lots of them can’t make the trip.” My heart was in my throat and I didn’t know what to say.

I helped Shifty get onto the plane and then realized he was back in Coach, while I was in First Class. I sent the flight attendant back to get him and said that I wanted to switch seats. When Shifty came forward, I got up out of the seat and told him I wanted him to have it, that I’d take his in coach.

He said “No, son, you enjoy that seat. Just knowing that there are still some who remember what we did and still care is enough to make an old man very happy.” His eyes were filling up as he said it. And mine are brimming up now as I write this.

Shifty died on June 17 after fighting cancer.

There was no parade.

No big event in Staples Center .

No wall to wall back to back 24×7 news coverage.

No weeping fans on television.

And that’s not right.

Let’s give Shifty his own Memorial Service, online, in our own quiet way. Please forward this email to everyone you know. Especially to the veterans.

Rest in peace, Shifty.

Jason R. Thomas

Jason@skeletonkey.com

The Road Map We Make

April 7, 2009

I think in metaphors and always have. I want to share one of the most longest standing ‘working’ metaphors in my mind.  By working I mean, it stands up to reason and reality, not something all metaphors do, all the time.

Think of your life as a trail, path or road.  (This is not uncommon ground I realize.) Imagine, if as we traveled our path we left our trail behind us. Sometimes we walked tall and proudly leaving a well kept or even decorated path.  Other times, we sneak through the undergrowth, cutting a trail we are not confident of.  There are days, weeks and months that we follow well laid super highways of social convention and other times we take the scenic country roads through cow pastures and flooded bottom land.  No matter what trails we cut or roads we follow we leave our mark there, forever.

Now, consider for a moment that each and every other person on earth is also on their own path and they too are leaving permanent marks along the way.  What I envision is a colossal road map stretching around the globe and documenting our travels and exploits.  Depending on our mood, maybe the lines we’ve created change color.  Their size will change.  Really the maps key is yours to draw.

I don’t think this idea is really new.  The symbolism of “life’s journey” is everywhere and it is so pervasive because of its powerful truth.  There is no doubt in my mind that life is more about the roads you follow and trails you cut than your final destination.

Next time, I’m going to share more about what really interests me within the road maps we make.  Surprisingly, it’s not the road at all, but you’ll have to stop back in to see.

Who’s map are you watching?

What roadblocks are in front of you? Behind?

When is your next intentional detour?

Where are you going? More importantly, how will you get there?

Why are you on the road you’re on right now?

Don’t forget to share your Giving Story for a chance to win a gift certificate to Genghis Grill.

head-shot Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

Twitter; LinkedIn; FaceBook

A few days ago I met with my buddy Dan Gill to talk about his new gig with Candice Coleman Communications LLC,
Dan’s passion and talent with a camera are astounding.  Take a look at some of his work and see for yourself.

Dan was kind enough to give me a few gift certificates to Genghis Grill, one of CCC’s clients. I have not had an opportunity to go eat at Genghis Grill, however, I do love Mongolian BBQ and highly recommend everyone try it (and use the chopstick or you ain’t really trying).  So I had an idea…

Genghis Grill
Ellisville Location
15819 Fountain Plaza Dr.
Ellisville, MO 63017

Hours of Operation:

Sunday – Thursday: 11:00 am – 10:00 pm
Friday & Saturday: 11:00 am – 11:00 pm
636.527.2714
ellisville@genghisgrill.com

I will give away $20 gift certificates to 3 people (from the St. Louis, Missouri area) who share the best giving stories.  Please keep your stories to a readable length, but most importantly get the point across.  I don’t particularly care what your side of the equation is in this case.  I really want to read some go-giving stories, specifically form the St. Louis, Missouri area.

The only string, we have to grab a cup of coffee and talk like real human beings to exchange the gift cards.  This is the only way I know to ensure humanity finds its way into the technology we all share.

Submission Deadline Friday, April 10, 2009

I’ll do my best to announce winners within a few days.

Who can you tell a story about?
What’s your perspective?
When will you take time to share your thoughts, authentically?
Where’s the best place for coffee?
Why don’t you just write the story your thinking about, NOW?

head-shot Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

314-353-4300

It’s been a while since I left off so I will recap quickly.  I connected Dixie Gillaspie and Scott Becker.   While on the phone with Scott, he suggested that he would like to assist in my career search by putting an announcement in his ASC Review.  Now, I don’t know for sure how big that mailing list is, but I do know it’s HUGE. Everyone in an entire industry has it delivered to their in-box weekly.  What a huge break this could be.

I spent hours writing a 4 sentence blurb describing myself and emailed to Scott later that day. I continued to grow my network locally but in the back of my mind, I knew that THE lead I’d been waiting for would come from the ASC Review.

After the first publishing, nothing happened. No calls, no emails, nothing.  I waited patiently (those that know me wont’ believe that but it’s true).  After the second publishing, nothing.  Then on a Saturday, an email shows up in my in box from Todd with SourceMedical asking if I’d be interested in talking about a sales position with them. Well, YES.

Todd and I spoke several times over the next few weeks.  It became clear to me that I was not a perfect match to the profile SourceMedical originally set out to hire, yet we continued our conversations.  In the end, Todd and SourceMedical chose another candidate.  I certainly don’t blame them.  I am sure the “other guy” represented a much safer choice and is probably doing very well for them today.

The point to my story is, every interaction has value.  Every connection you can facilitate has power and none of us know how much. Further, it’s not for us to decide how the giving comes back towards us.  What I believe – Give like you don’t need it and expect nothing more than the internal joy of the gift, but remain open to saying “Thank you” and meaning it.

head-shotWho owes you a favor?

What do you expect to get in return?

When will you get it?

Where will it come from?

Why are you still thinking in Go-Getter terms? Go-Give.

Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

Landings Provides a Takeoff Platform

I have landed.  This incarnation of my career search has been successful. I am now employed by Skeleton Key a technology firm in St. Louis, in a business development role.  The first person Skeleton Key has had focused completely on bringing new business into the firm. Up until now, that’s been the Principals job, Mark Richman and Oliver Block.  There’s nothing like taking your bosses job…

Now, on to what’s really important.  Landing Provides a Takeoff Platform

If you’ve followed this blog at all you know that I have many people to thank for their assistance along the way to finding Skeleton Key, or being found by Skeleton Key, depending on your perspective.  I was actually introduced to Mark Richman by Gill Wagner (seen here on The Rise to The Top).  Tracking that backwards, I was introduced to Gill by Kevin Pannebecker.  Thanks again to both. They are truly Go-Givers.

When I landed I felt a momentary ease.  It was good to know that I would not be depending on Missouri’s failing unemployment budget any longer.  By the time I actually appeared in the office, ready to work, I realized that while landing felt great, I need to put the rocket boosters back on and take off again.  What?  Take off to where?

My landing provided me a platform (Skeleton Key) from which to launch.  It has also given me new cargo and a new message to add to the Giving Experiment mission.  Many time I have more questions than answers as I ponder how to package the message and new cargo as I continue the mission of giving, but last night and this morning have been especially clear.

With that said, here is an announcement regarding The Giving Experiment.  Look for changes, both stylistic and in the content, over the next couple of months.  I have a few more posts to make regarding my career search.  They seem relevant since I’ve started the story line already and have a few new people to mention along the way.

However, my little experiment is growing as I load a companies business development plans into the cargo hold. Growth is the goal here right?  It is why I started the experiment.

<<< About Skeleton Key >>> We focus in two area, IT Consulting and FileMaker Development. In many ways they go hand in hand, but let me explain for those of you who are not so techno savvy.  Our strengths in the IT business are cross-platform (especially Mac and PC) integration, Cisco issues and unique projects that require creative solutions.  We make Mac and PC play nice together better than anyone in the St. Louis area.  Oliver Block is a magician with Cisco. (Don’t tell him I said it though.)  Our FileMaker Development team is one of the best in the world.  We are a FileMaker Business Alliance Platinum Member.  If you don’t know much about FileMaker it’s worth a look.  There is not quicker, more flexible database tool for small to medium user groups.

head-shot Who are you giving to?

What is your motivation?

When will you commit to making someone else better off?

Where will you go if you get the axe?

Why aren’t you preparing for that?

Make A Referral Week

February 27, 2009

marw125

Great idea I just had to share with everyone.

Thanks

Who have you refered lately?

What are you waiting for?

When is “the right time” to do business?

Where is your next customer coming from?

Why do we accept that which we can change?

head-shot Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com

During on of my conversations with Dixie Gillaspie she was asked which of the Five Laws of Stratospheric Success is the most difficult for people to incorporate into their lives. What an interesting question.

Obviously, the true answer lies only within us, to be shared if we choose. The irony is, the choice to share our true selves is one of The Five Laws. The Law of Authenticity states – The most valuable gift you have to offer is yourself.

As I look back through the encounters I have had so far on my Go-Giving journey, thinking of the wonderful people I’ve met along the way, this idea drives itself home. They have all shared of themselves in ways that most of us would never consider.

First, their time –  I mean why on earth would you take over an hour out of your busy schedule to meet a stranger, who happens to be looking for a new job? But the real proof of Authenticity comes during that meeting. The real proof of Authenticity, for me at least, has been the personal stories these people have told.

I heard a wonderful analogy for authenticity at church a few weeks ago. The priest explained that he enjoyed watching the Mississippi River from atop a certain bluff in the St. Louis area. The mighty river flows majestically through the landscape. Trees and greenery line its bank to the north and towering wall of stone rises from the depths on the south. (I think you get the “pretty picture” idea.)

Walking down to the banks of that same river, in the same area, you see a much different picture. Now you can see that the stained water is really just muddy sediment washed downstream from eroding banks. Branches and natural debris remind you of the destruction caused in recent flooding. Trash and litter ride the flow of water leaving no doubt that we, as humans, share an intimate yet tenuous relationship with Old Man River.

From high atop a bluff, the river is post card worthy. Is that the picture of yourself you show to the world? From up-close-and-personal the river is much different, as are you, as are we all, if we choose to show some authenticity. From experience, I have learned more from those who are willing to share themselves authentically. The brave souls who openly share the struggles they have encountered are inspiring and enlightening.

Obviously there are levels of authenticity that might not be appropriate for a first time networking meeting, so don’t think I’m talking crazy. At the same time, I think authenticity and receptivity are linked in a very direct way. Those areas you are courageous enough to share about yourself are also the areas you will be practicing the Law of Receptivity in.

It’s been true for me, how about you?

Who do you share yourself authentically with?

What stops you from being more authentic with the rest of us?

When will you let the walls and facades start to fall away?

Where do you have no choice but to expose a weakness?

Why don’t you practice being uncomfortable?

Jason R. Thomas

Give a little…

Give a little more…

Give a comment for the comment poor.

Jason R. Thomas

JasonR.Thomas@yahoo.com