Leave a better campsite
By Colonel Mark Baker, 14th Flying Training Wing Vice Commander
/ Published June 08, 2007
COLUMBUS AIR FORCE BASE, Miss. --
It doesn't matter what the size of an organization is or your position within that bureaucracy, your presence there makes a difference. Every individual can make a difference. Every boss, whether good or bad, makes a difference. And likewise, every employee can choose to do his or her job in an extraordinary way, regardless of the circumstances. No one can stop you from being exceptional. Most people have a passion for being significant - making an impact on the unit they're a part of. Martin Luther King Jr. said, "If a man is called to be a street sweeper, he should sweep streets even as Michelangelo painted or Beethoven composed music or Shakespeare wrote poetry. He should sweep streets so well that all the hosts of heaven and earth will pause to say, 'Here lived a great street sweeper who did his job well.'" So what will they say in heaven about you?
As I reflect back on my past two years here at Columbus AFB as a part of the BLAZE Team, I would like to think I've made a difference. Aside from being the vice wing commander I've also carried the title of instructor pilot, father, husband and friend. Each has brought challenges, successes and disappointments. I can't claim I get it right all the time, but I can assure you I never stop trying. So I guess if I were to ask myself the question I just posed to you, "What will they say in heaven about you?" I would want it to be that he poured his heart into every endeavor. There's a saying that goes, "There are no unimportant jobs, just people who feel unimportant doing their jobs." The legendary founder of Forbes magazine said it this way, "There is more credit and satisfaction in being a first-rate truck driver than a tenth-rate executive." Steadfastly doing your very best in every situation, regardless of the support, recognition or reward of others, is the key to having a truly fulfilling career.
Now, as I close my last article for the Silver Wings and head off to my next great Air Force adventure I want to leave you with two more quick quotes and a short story. The first quote is from Andrew Carnegie who said, "No man can become rich without himself enriching others." The second comes from Minister Oliver Goldsmith, who states, "You can preach a better sermon with your life than with your lips." And, finally, a story: When I was a young man growing up in New England I was actively involved in Boy Scouts. As a scout, we were taught first to do a good turn daily and second to leave our campsite better than we found it. The thinking was simple, if you live by the golden rule of "Do unto others as you would have them do unto you," and you took care of those things you were entrusted with, so they went back a little better than you found them, what a wonderful world you'd leave in your wake. So as I complete my tenure as your vice commander I leave you with this challenge - make your time here at Columbus AFB matter; do it not for the rewards or recognition, but for the passion of doing a good job; chose to enrich the lives of those around you; and leave the campsite a little better than you found it.