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  • "...You can work hard and make lots of money, but it's not worth it if you can't enjoy life..."

    "After high school I joined my brother-in-law starting up a concrete business. We worked hard and made lots of money. By the time I left it was a multi-million dollar company. I wasn't happy. I worked 12 to 16 hour days six days a week, and one time worked myself into a heat stroke. I was in the hospital for five days, and the doctors had to kick
  • "...I was forced to face the unbearable fact that my babies were not coming back..."

    I had three sons, and my son Gregory called me one day and said Mom we lost them. I said, what do you mean we lost them? I learned on Feb.8, 2000, my twin 22 year-old sons Albade and Obadiah had been murdered while working on a car in Oakland. After one year I was still in shock and denial. Eventually, I was forced to face the unbearable fact that
  • "...You have to learn to fight those demons that tell you to quit..."

    "It's easy to make excuses and talk yourself out of getting through difficult situations. You have to learn to fight those demons that tell you to quit. With that in mind, I qualified for the 2016 Ironman World Championship next October in Kailua-Kona, Hawaii. If you think about the big picture, an Ironman seems overwhelming and impossible. But if
  • "...she lived two more years..."

    "During basic training, I signed up for the C.W. Bill Young DOD Marrow Donor Program. About four years later, I received a call with a match for someone with leukemia who needed a transfusion. I later met the recipient. The first time she received the transfusion her leukemia went into remission, but eventually it returned. She spent Christmas with
  • "... the Air Force truly is a family..."

    "One of the most challenging times of my career was losing a fellow Air Force member during a deployment.  It's something that you can never truly prepare for as a leader. It took a lot of thought, soul searching and mental preparation to find a balance for people to grieve as well as to continue the mission. Giving up was not an option. Our
  • "...when I'm faced with an opportunity to learn I jump in..."

    "We grew up very poor in Nepal, but my drive to succeed comes from my mother. She instilled in me our tribe's three core values:  1) always be loyal to your king, that means Chief or employer, 2) always repay your debts, if someone helps you, you are obliged to help them in return, 3) take care of your family. She also taught me to take any
  • "...you can't stop doing what you love to do..."

    "I played a lot of sports during my life--football, baseball, basketball, even soccer. I always gave the game my best with the goal of going to the championships. As the captain of my high school baseball team I noticed some players didn't seem to share the same enthusiasm as I did resulting in the loss of synergy. At one point, I got upset and
  • "Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be in the Air Force"

    "Ever since I was a little kid I wanted to be in the Air Force. My grandfather retired as a Chief. I used to sit on his lap and he'd tell me stories of where he went around the world and the things he did. I wanted to be an Air Force mechanic. But I am partially deaf in my left ear, which prevented me from pursuing that dream. So I had to go with
  • "... you get married and work at the 'happily ever after' part..."

    "I've been married for 39 years and have five children and 16 grandchildren. The biggest myth about marriage is 'you get married and live happily ever after.' The reality is you get married and work at the 'happily ever after' part. My daughter was shocked to hear that my husband, her father, is not the root of my happiness. Young couples can get
  • "...I can remember seeing the SR-71 Blackbird fly through the sky like a black dagger..."

    "I grew up on a farm in Marysville, California and I can remember seeing the SR-71 Blackbird fly through the sky like a black dagger.  My parents were friends with some officers and NCOs from Beale AFB and I was inspired by their sharp looks and well-spoken attitudes. When the draft came around in 1969 it was like a nudge for me to join. Although I
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