A Little Piece of My Heart !!

This week has been one of transition.  My mother-in-law passed away at the age of 77 after a battle with Parkinson’s disease and dementia.  Also, a dear friend of mine, who I sang alongside in our church choir, passed away gracefully at the age of 89.  I doubt that few who read this blog know these two great people who impacted my life in tangible, meaningful ways.  I am thankful that I can celebrate their lives and what they meant to me.

These two people also had an impact on my amazing wife, Debbie.  I don’t mention her much on social forums because she’d prefer to be in the background.  You see, she is a perfect reflection of the quote from Jerry Maguire - she completes me.  She and I are almost complete polar opposites and everything I do poorly, she does well.  I don’t know how my life would look without her.  I don’t think it would be nearly as positive and great as it is because she so gracefully and effortlessly fills the voids and blind spots I have.

The majority of the people who touch our lives are more like my wife, my mother-in law and my friend from church.  They are meaningful to us individually and the sphere of who they’re connected to varies greatly.  Even though I may be personally connected to them, I may not be connected to the other amazing people who they know and interact with.

I want to take the time this week to share something that you may not know.  Just like these three wonderful people – you have a piece of my heart !!

Too often, we downplay the impact EVERY single person in our lives has.  We keep thinking that people only make an impact if they have visibility, notoriety or celebrity.  Sadly, many people keep chasing those shallow attributes of our society thinking it will give more substance and meaning to their lives.

Piece of My HeartYou need to know that YOU matter – at least to me.  I don’t take any interaction I have with any person lightly.  It may be the one and only time we ever cross paths.  That matters.  I may not personally see how this affects either your life or mine.  But, I know that because you came across my path and in my life - you impacted me and made a difference.

I don’t view life in the manner that most people do.  To me, the “humans” are key because my life is not defined by my profession.  It’s just what I happen to do.

The losses I experienced this week reminded me that I don’t take enough time to let people who are in my life know how much I value them.  I guess I assume they know, but that is a missed opportunity.  This is something so critical to all of us as people to communicate how people touch our lives.

Make sure to notice everyone you come across this week !!  Don’t ignore, brush off or move past some ONE to some THING you think is more important.

I don’t take our connection lightly.  The fact that you would take the time to read this blog as well as connect in person and/or socially drives me and fuels my passion for people more than you know !!

I’m glad you are a piece of my heart !!  I know that I am better because of it !!

Image Courtesy of Deviantart.com

I Need a Bucket !!

Before you think this is a post about Monty Python’s The Meaning of Life, it really takes a different twist (even though I’m a devout Python fan !!)

There has been a recent trend in blog posts that came to life at work for me this week.  I first came across Susan David‘s fabulous post on Harvard Business Review on engagement and meeting employee’s needs. Secondly, I read one of my faves Paul Hebert on Symbolist and his take on finding out what employees want.  If you take nothing else from this post, make sure you connect with these great folks and resources !!

This all came to life for me through one of my favorite Team Members.  Greg has been with us for over 30 years and he started when he was 16.  Greg is fantastic because he has always done the work that most people look down upon or consider below them.  Greg started with us as a dishwasher taking care of all of the various dishes from our guests as well as the kitchen equipment.  It really is one of the key positions in our pizzerias !!  A little over a year ago we asked Greg to try something new and clean the parking lot for our anchor store as well as the parking lot for the Corporate Office.

Greg has always taken great pride in his work, and he welcomed the new opportunity.  A few weeks ago he asked me for a new bucket.  I didn’t think much of it because he had a bucket, but something seemed wrong.  He seemed out of sorts which doesn’t happen that often.  When Greg saw me, he’d check in and see if I had found a bucket yet.  I asked Greg what kind of bucket he wanted and he said, “Something big and colorful.”

Lowe's BucketI took Greg’s request to heart and found a beautiful, blue bucket at Lowe’s.  I walked it over to the pizzeria and asked the GM to get Greg and have him meet me at the restaurant.  He thought something was wrong, but his eyes lit up when he saw me with the new bucket !!

He explained to me that someone had ruined his last bucket and it was great to have something new !!

You need to know something fantastic about Greg !! He is a Special Needs Team Member who is flat awesome.  In fact, when we had a group of sixth graders visiting us, Greg asked if he could speak to the class.  He was absolutely captivating because he spoke from his heart about how much he loved working for us, and he encouraged all of the kids to make sure to apply to work for us when they turned 16 just like he did !!

A bucket.  Something that seems to be insignificant and simple to most, changed Greg’s day.  I can see him now across the street as his blue bucket bops up and down as he walks joyfully through the lots.

What’s something that’s staring you in the face which may mean little to you, but would change an employee’s life ??  We make HR so layered and difficult, and miss people’s needs that are right in front of us.

This week, strip off the layers and look for those “bottom shelf” needs that you have been missing.  Recognize that it’s important to someone else and then fill their bucket !!

Walk a Dog !!

After returning from SHRM14, I was faced with the reality of a very full plate at work and at home.  I’m sure this is no different than all of the attendees as they made their way back to their non-conference lives.  It’s very easy to jump back into the incredibly fast pace of life and have things seem overwhelming. Nothing ever seems to fall into place even for those who are phenomenal planners.  The reality of things moving in and out of each day means that you have to react and respond because people expect to be heard.

LabradoodleSo, like most of us, instead of just going back to what I already had in front of me, I volunteered to watch our neighbor’s dog while they went on vacation.  Normally, my great son watches the dog, but he was going to be in Atlanta, Georgia for a mission trip with his youth group.  Now, you have to understand that Piper is an extended part of our family.  We are very close to our neighbors and have known Piper since he was a puppy.  Did I mention that Piper is gigantic ??  I’m a big fan of large dogs, and he definitely fits the bill.  Piper is a Labradoodle, and he can easily put his head on the kitchen table just to check out what happens to be “available.”

I used this opportunity to start my wellness program by walking Piper early each morning.  We went for it by walking 1 1/2 to 2 miles each day.  It has been magnificent !!

What in the world does this have to do with HR ??  Everything.

You see, I’m a person who is constantly on the go.  I am a person who says “Yes” all the time because I feel I have the capacity to take things on and I enjoy being full all the time.  In doing this, I rarely take time to reflect and clear my mind.  This isn’t a good approach, but it is what I think everyone practices.  People are always bemoaning how busy they are, but we don’t take steps to do anything about it.  We may go on vacation to break away, but even those trips are filled to the max to “enjoy” our time off.

Taking a walk allowed me to start the day unencumbered because Piper was the focus.  He knows how to start the day !!  First of all, he can’t wait to see you.  As soon as you hit the door, he’s excited that you showed up.  Secondly, he can’t wait to start the day and be with you as you share a walk together.  Every day the same path is new to him.  He doesn’t complain about ritual or pattern because it’s never the same.  When he sees fellow dogs, he greets them and can’t wait to talk to them regardless of who they are, where they live, how they look or how they act.

How would your HR role look if that’s how you approached each day?  What if everything was new and exciting instead of mundane and repetitive?  What if EVERY single person mattered for who they are, what they do and what they bring to work each day?  What if you were so excited to see everyone each time to encountered them?

Clearing my head on these walks actually improved my perspective on people.  I’m going to keep walking every morning, even without Piper.  Having some time just to break the pace is healthy for all of us.  I hope that each of you find your own way to break out of the pace. Trust me it’s worth the walk !!

Lava Lamps in India !! #SHRM14

I am slowly, and I mean slowly, coming down from my high state of euphoria I experienced at #SHRM14 !!  I really don’t want it to end, but it will have to suffice as my HR peer fix until the next great event.

The entire event was a whirlwind of interactions at a level I hoped would occur.  To get jumped in the hallway outside the Exhibition Hall by Simone Carroll saying “Hello Steve !!” in a beautiful Australian accent followed by a hug to exchanging music, ideas and insights with the SHRM HRblog Squad, my time at the Conference was never dull.

I enjoyed the Keynotes for various reasons.  I don’t expect them to “hit” or change HR because they are brought to the Conference to give it some “star” power. My fave was David Novak, CEO of Yum! Brands because he was Geeked about people in his business and I truly connected with his approach to HR – especially in the restaurant business.

I loved the concurrent sessions I saw with Jennifer McClure, Jason Lauritsen and Clint Swindall. Each of them had takeaways on how to do things like build the business case for HR and leadership (Jennifer), Become a Social Architect in HR (Jason) and how to become a Weekday Warrior (Clint).  Yes, I went to sessions to try to improve humans around me.  I just can’t get enough of it to be honest !!

The Exhibit Hall rocked !! I loved the SHRM Store and the Volunteer Leaders lounge was a great place to rest and catch a snack with friends who give their time and efforts to SHRM at the Chapter and State Council level.

The event that sent me truly over the top was the opportunity to speak myself.  It was a rush to be opening the activities on Monday at 7:00am to a full room.  I am thankful that friends came to show support because I love seeing them all the time.  I was even more excited to see a room of unfamiliar faces (at least when we started).  I met HR peers from Uganda, Saudi Arabia, Denmark, Nigeria, Turkey, the Cayman Islands, Bermuda, Canada and India all in my session.  Having a chance to share HR from a different perspective and also reach folks from across the globe . . . . amazing !!

I think the attendees at my session weren’t quite ready to be jacked up that early in the morning.  To be able to show HR people that you can have fun, mess with your employees and truly impact the business you work for seemed new to most there.  I thought everyone was a bit tentative to start, but by the end of the session people were laughing, smiling and learned what it’s like to be Geeked about HR !!

I challenged the attendees to do something completely radical and say, “Hi !!” to all of the attendees at SHRM14 who weren’t in my session for the rest of the week.  I told them I would check on them throughout the week to see how it was going.  Amazingly, they told me that others were wondering why they were greeting them.  I asked if that discouraged them, and they began to glow with excitement !!  They eagerly told me, “No, I keep saying ‘Hi !!’ to more folks now.  This is awesome !!”

You see, I think a lot of HR needs to be simplified.  People want to engage and be connected – but the difference is that WE have to be the ones to do it instead of expecting folks to just “get it.”  One thing to start this is making your office fun.  At my session, I closed everything out by telling folks I was adding them to the HR Net (a free resource open to all HR folks) to keep them connected, and I gave away a lava lamp.

Jaya at SHRM14When I pulled the name, I stumbled.  It was a longer name and I didn’t want to mispronounce it.  I got the name out and a wonderful, young lady quietly stood and said, “Yes, that is me. I won.”  Meet Jaya from India !!

How cool is it that the 1st time I get to speak at SHRM National, I can plant a cool, hippie HR vibe in another country ??

You see HR – It’s time for us to shine our light within our organizations, our profession and with each other.  Well, I’m geeked again just by writing this !!  I hope the Conference was fab for everyone who went – and I hope to see YOU at another great HR event sooner than later !!

 

Being Heard !!

I just returned from #SHRM14 in Orlando.  This was the best experience I’ve personally had at a SHRM Annual Conference.  I got in a bit earlier than the masses because I was there as part of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC) of SHRM.  One of the facets of this role is that we meet with the SHRM Board of Directors as well as the board of the SHRM Foundation.

Our job is to share the feedback, concerns, ideas and pulse of the SHRM Members.  It’s really an extremely cool volunteer position to hold because it’s like practicing HR for your Association.  We listen to our members and then share with Senior Leaders directly.

I knew that we’d have this opportunity and the other four great ladies I serve with had met with the Boards last year.  There was some anxiety because I wasn’t sure what to expect.  I’m a huge believer in experiential learning and this was going to be a great experience.

What I found was not only reassuring, but gave me confidence in an organization that I sincerely believe in because we were heard !!  When we met with both bodies they listened to what the SHRM members had shared with us, especially about the new SHRM Certification.  The feedback we shared was candid, emotional and forthright.  It was even described as “unvarnished.”

HR Business Case StepsThere was a key distinction about how we approached this opportunity.  You see, we made the business case for the feedback and broke it into the areas that fit all of the comments we received.  I happened to go to a session led by Jennifer McClure later during the actual conference where she shared the steps to consider when making an HR business case to Senior Management.  It looks like we followed the steps well because we gave recommendations for the Board to consider around the next steps of the SHRM Certification evolution.

I want to clear something up that I heard at the Conference as well.  I understand that people may not feel the SHRM Board hears people, but I know that not to be true.  This is, and will continue to be, a highly emotional issue.  The Board Members heard that directly and when we discussed the issue, it was on both a tangible and strategic level.

In the end, we took the first step.

I truly think that is how this work should continue.  People are demanding absolutes which is too narrow of an approach.  Details need to come – and they will.  Communication needs to be better and consistent – and it will be.  People need to stay engaged in the process as it rolls out – and they will.

You have to know that I am not someone who is trying to only tout SHRM.  This situation allowed the MAC to practice HR.  We listened to our constituents and then brought that data to our leaders wrapped in potential solutions and recommendations.  We acted as a bridge to not only bring things together, but to move them forward.

For those that know me, I am one of the most fiercely passionate HR pros you’ll encounter.  The great folks I serve with are also fiercely passionate business people.  We always yearn to be heard and taken seriously as HR professionals.  I can tell you that it happens because we experienced it firsthand.

I’m geeked about the level of involvement I experienced and also in working with the leadership of SHRM while being connected to its volunteers.  We have hit some bumps and shed some tears.  We have raised our voices . . . and we are being heard !!

All MAC’d Up !!

Sitting in an airport terminal gives you a chance to jot down your thoughts if you build in a bit of time.  I’m trying to contain my excitement as I get ready to board my flight to SHRM14 in Orlando !!  The actual conference doesn’t kick-off until Sunday, but I’m fortunate to head down early as a SHRM volunteer and member of the Membership Advisory Council (MAC).

The MAC is made up of five volunteer leaders who work with five regions of ten states each throughout the US.  I am the 2014 Rep for the North Central Region which is basically the upper midwest section of the country.  The MAC meets with SHRM State Directors and volunteers throughout the country and listens to their feedback, concerns and suggestions.  We get to take their great input directly to the SHRM Board of Directors as well as other SHRM staff.  It’s an incredible opportunity that had a very intentional beginning . . .

You see, I have been a SHRM member for many years now.  However, when I began getting involved as a volunteer I was someone who commented on the sidelines about all the things that were “wrong” with the association and my local chapter.  I was facilitating a monthly HR Roundtable in the late 90′s and was being more and more vocal about my disdain.  Now, you have to know, that I had yet to go to a chapter meeting or SHRM event in person.  It was just easier to join the negative throng because people seem to get jazzed about it.

Get InvolvedOne month after a Roundtable, a very engaged member of the Greater Cincinnati HR Association (GCHRA) confronted me.  In fact, she pinned me against the wall !!  Now, I’m a fairly tall person and this person was not.  It didn’t deter her in the least.  She said, “Hey Steve, I’m tired of you taking shots at what we do.  You aren’t even involved yourself.  In my opinion, you need to either get involved or shut up !!”

I was flabbergasted. This is not stereotypical behavior for an HR person.  I admired her fervor though and took her up on her challenge.  I decided to run for Vice-President of the chapter even though I’d never been to a meeting.  I won.  From that time I’ve been fortunate to be the Chapter President, State Conference Director for Ohio and State Council Director.  I also still run the HR Roundtable each month and am entering my 15th year of being the facilitator.

I wanted to share this because I keep seeing other HR pros who sit on the sidelines and aren’t connected in their field.  You may pay your membership dues, but that only gives you access to a website and a myriad of white papers.  The National Conference is now upon us and you have a chance to act.  So, consider this me pinning you to the wall.

When you go to SHRM14 – get fully immersed in everything that the conference has to offer.  Be intentional in choosing your sessions and get great information that will help you be better in your role within your organization.  Go into it seeking the nugget that will transform your approach to HR.  Don’t just attend.  Be active !!

Hit the Exhibit Hall, the SHRM Bookstore, the various events happening every night and take in all that you can !!  Most importantly connected with the other HR pros who will be at the event.  You can develop meaningful, professional relationships that could last your entire career.  You will be surrounded by people.  Be different and engage others instead of rushing from one event to the next.

When that volunteer pinned me to the wall years ago, she lit a fire in me that only continues to grow !!  I know that SHRM has its faults and can do things better, just as most organizations do.  However, I can only make a difference by being involved.  I hope this gives you the spark you need to get involved in HR where you are !!  If you get connected to other folks, join a chapter, start an HR blog, etc. you’re taking that next step.

I honestly can’t wait to see each and every person who is going to SHRM14 !!  I’ll be the one on fire who will be geeked to meet you !!  See you there !!

I Am HR !!

I am SpartacusIn the classic film Spartacus, Kirk Douglas leads a revolt against Rome.  He and his fellow slaves are face-to-face with the Roman troops when the commander demands that Spartacus reveal himself.  All of his fellow slaves stand and declare that THEY are Spartacus until the entire throng claims to be Douglas.  He stands defiantly facing his enemy while everyone rallies around him.  It is timeless and a call to arms for people to support a just cause and overthrow the empire !!

This past week a true revolutionary in our field of HR, Laurie Ruettimann, released her new e-book, I Am HR: 5 Strategic Ways to Break Stereotypes and Reclaim HR.  To put it simply, it is magnificent !!

Laurie has been a trendsetter in Social Media and HR for several years.  Her punk rock approach to what we do is edgy, challenging and intentional.  She hasn’t settled for HR to remain in stasis, and that doesn’t always sit well with people.  In fact, I know that people tend to either be hot or cold with Laurie since she rarely takes a stand in the middle of the road.

I respect Laurie for being a boundary stretched in a field that cries out so desperately for this.  For too long HR has bemoaned how it “isn’t this” or “isn’t that.”  We are the ONLY profession that does this by the way !!  Laurie and I have different approaches to being passionate about HR, but I consider her a dear friend who makes me think and not accept the norms that are often set as standards for our industry.

I am HRThis e-book takes the stereotypes of HR and peels them back.  It doesn’t pile on or reinforce them, but it does ask you as the reader to face what we’ve become.

The true appeal to Laurie’s work is that she offers some tangible solutions for each of these stereotypes to be addressed and thwarted.  Some HR books give lofty theoretical models filled with catchphrases and false motivation to get you jacked up to “act” into yet another phase of corporate ambiguity.  This book doesn’t do that.  In fact, Laurie gives real world examples of HR professionals that she has observed as people who break these stereotypes.  You can find each of these HR pros active in all facets of the field and from all types and sizes of industries.  Ironically, each of the people she lists are also visible and active in Social Media trying to move the entire profession forward as well as where they work.

This book will push you to look introspectively and then ask you to stand and proclaim.  I know that when I read it, I readily exclaimed, ” I AM HR !! ” as if I was rallying with Spartacus.  I encourage you to download the book, keep it on hand, refer to it often and join the throng to proclaim that YOU ARE HR !!

I Can’t Wait !!

ExcitementIn a few weeks, I will be heading to Orlando, Florida for the SHRM Annual Conference. To say that I’m Geeked would be an undersatement !!  It’s a chance to break away from the daily norms and be with 14,000+ of my HR peers.  Some may find that overwhelming while I see it as welcoming.

There are many reasons that are making this year’s conference even more intriguing.  The obvious item that will gather the most attention will be the next steps in the SHRM Certification transition.  I want to see where things will go and it will be great to see and hear things first hand.  I also have the great chance to meet with the SHRM Board of Directors as part of the Membership Advisory Committee (MAC).  I’m fortunate to be a part of a great team of other volunteer leaders from around the US who are seriously intentional and engaged HR pros.

To top all of this off, as if that wouldn’t be enough already, I get to speak !!  When I heard that was going to be a part of the program, I was humbled.  I truly was.  You see, giving the presentation will be a thrill in itself, but even more than that I’ll be talking to my peers.  I have been at many conferences and hear that HR folks want to hear from fellow practitioners.  Now I get the opportunity to do that.  Wow !!

Conferences give you a chance to meet great HR pros from all over, develop lasting professional relationships and get connected to resources that help you do your job better.  If you’re going to SHRM14, I’d love to see you and connect !!  I mean that.  I try to meet as many folks as I can because I find that I have learned more from these great people over the years than I ever would have on my own.

I know that there are several reasons why people go to conferences, but for me it truly is all the people.  It’s fascinating to realize that there are so many others who practice HR and have a chance to do it in various ways !!  I also plan to see other sessions from people that take a different look at HR.  I look for sessions that stretch and challenge me because I want to bring back items that will allow me to improve HR in my workplace.  I don’t want to settle for something or sit through a topic just because it gets a certain level of credit.

So, as my level of excitement continues to grow, I hope to see you !!  It would make my Conference to get to see you, meet you and experience it with you.  Geeked !!

Image courtesy of blogworld.com

 

Listen.

Human Resources is often written about in vast layers and fantastic catch phrases !!  When I see posts about “harnessing the synergy of human capital” I start to twitch.  One of the shortcomings of what we do is that we try to make it harder than it needs to be.  I think that HR has fallen into the trap that if we sound like we’re more intricate, then people will give us more credibility.

Weaving a broader web of terms and efforts that keep the “mystique” of HR as our brand lends itself to more confusion than clarification.  When I talk to many of my peers, they share that many companies just “don’t get” them.  This has to be frustrating for those practicing HR and those who work with them.

ListenI’d like to show you a simple alternative.  Listen.

It’s an overlooked skill and attribute that we don’t practice in HR, or in organizations for the most part.  Please understand that I’m not talking about the different “types” of listening highlighted in communication models.  It’s much more simple than that.

Our employees want people who will take the time to hear what is on their mind.  We tend to think that these requests are such a hassle because we have so much more that is important and needs our attention.  I have to work myself to not fall into this approach.  I think that we consider the request to listen to people difficult because our mind tends to think the worst will occur.  If we were honest about it, we tend to be more negative about people than positive.  Our minds start to formulate all the “what if” scenarios that are sure to come up when the conversations occur, and they never come true.

Just this past week I had several requests from both Managers and front-line staff to meet with them.  This wasn’t on my schedule or in my planner.  The fact was that I had some fairly large projects in front of me that were due.  I chose to fight the urge to put these requests to the side and went to meet with each person.  I’m glad I did.  In each situation, I was able to be the sounding board that was needed at that time.  The conversations ranged from personal issues outside of work to difficultly with a manager who seems to be ignoring his staff.

Honestly, it was the best use of my time because the challenges that these employees were facing were only going to grow if someone didn’t listen to them.  I think there are three keys to making listening work:

Be Available – That sounds simple, but as I mentioned before, we put other things in front of people all the time.  Being available takes discipline and a ton of effort.  If you do this, you’ll honestly differentiate yourself from most HR practitioners !!

Don’t Seek Solutions - This goes against the grain of who we are.  We don’t feel we’re being good professionals if we don’t come up with the perfect solution to everything we face.  You may get a chance to offer a solution, but just listen first.  Seriously, listen and see where things go before formulating what could be done.

Be Consistent – You’ll do better to listen to all of your employees and not just those who are problems.  The more you listen to people the more you learn.  This will allow you to be closer to your team members, and chances are you’ll hear things early on and be able to anticipate how things will move.

Listening is something that has taken me years to learn.  It’s tough to admit that but it’s true.  I know it makes a difference.  This week start listening and see what happens !!

 

Those Who Serve !!

Today is Memorial Day and I was fortunate enough to spend it with my parents and my brother’s family. As we all get older, it’s harder and harder to get all of the kids (now young adults) together with everyone.  We were able to grill out, share stories, see how fortunate we are to have such great kids.  I cherish my family and this day, more than most, makes this even more true.

You see, one person wasn’t able to be at our gathering, my biological father.  My dad, John Browne, was a veteran of the US Army.  He served during the Vietnam War and went on four tours during his service.  The Army was really the only choice at the time for my dad.  He was an average high school student and the Army was a way to have a career and develop skills to use later in life.  He entered as a private and rose to the rank of Staff Sergeant.  He ended up being a highly decorated person for his bravery, valor and leadership of his troops during the war.

Dad PicIf you notice, I keep noting these things in the past tense.  My dad passed away in 1968 after losing a battle to Hodgkin’s Disease cancer at the age of 26. It’s amazing to me that he survived the difficulty of battle only to lose to a disease.

I’ve heard that my dad was caring, gregarious and had a deep laugh that came out easily and often.  He was a dedicated friend and loving husband and father.  I was only four years old when dad died.  I have a handful of memories of him, but wish I had more time to have been with him.  From what I’ve been told, he and I are very similar !!  We look the same, have the same voice and I guess I even walk like him.  When I laugh (which is often), my family has said, “That’s just like John.”  I’m sure he loved life and lived it to the fullest !!

One other thing that gives me pride . . .

My dad volunteered to be in the Army.  Just when the draft was going to come into full force and be a dividing factor in our country’s history, my dad chose to serve.  He knew that he could be called to be in harm’s way, and he signed up anyway.

Today, there are thousands of men and women who are just like my dad.  They weren’t drafted into service.  They chose to serve, and they continue to do so in both times and circumstances of war as well as humanitarian efforts around the world.  We are so comfortable in our day-to-day lives that we take for granted these folks who protect our freedom.  That’s a shame and something none of us should take for granted.

Without these thousands of people willing to step in and serve, I wouldn’t be having a picnic with my family this Memorial Day.  So, I wanted to say “Thank You” to all the people of the Armed Services – not just on this day, but every day.  When you see someone in uniform, thank them in person.  They deserve this and so much more !!

I hope you join me in being thankful for those who serve !!