Last week I had the true honor of being invited to the retirement ceremony of SSgt. Phillip McGill from the United States Marine Corps. SSgt McGill dedicated 13 years of his life to defending this nation. He deployed to faraway lands to run security operations where being a target was a daily occurrence. After witnessing the work that Marine EOD units (Bomb Techs) performed, he answered that calling and learned how to disarm explosives that were slated to kill American service personnel and innocent civilians.
It was in performing this duty that an explosive detonated in SSgt. McGill’s hand, permanently injuring him and ultimately cutting short his military career. When I look at a man like Phil, and see the dedication to a purpose bigger than himself, I cannot help but see the epitome of “Service”. Being around people like him makes me a better person.
There are others around us that define “service” in other ways. Each day our local teachers and school staff tend to our children for a paycheck that is far lower than what their time and effort is worth. I am willing to bet that you personally know a teacher and have witnessed them go above and beyond what is required. Their dedication what shapes the next generation of Americans. They define “service” in manner that is often overlooked.
And you don’t have to look far to find a nurse or medical professional that will stay after their shift to help a patient or counsel the family of an individual dealing with a life altering condition. The extra effort these “servants” put forth with us when we are sick often makes the difference between surviving and thriving. Their “service” a critical part of many people’s lives.
Locally we have advocates who work long hours for low pay to defend abused women and children and help them find the strength within them to get back on their feet. They come out at all hours of the day and night to pick up the pieces during some of the darkest times in a victim’s life. Indirectly they serve all of us.
The list could go on and on.
I believe we are in an era where serving a cause bigger than yourself is not instilled in the fabric of our society the way it once was. We often become fixated on the latest reality TV show or the abilities of the newest iPhone and (as a society) seldom look outside of our comfort zone.
How awesome would it be if we all picked a cause to dedicate a small portion of our time to? If we instilled in our kids the importance of reaching out to our neighbors and lending a hand when they stumble? What if the next generation knew from a young age that giving back was as much a part of life as eating lunch and doing your homework?
I know that through the years I have seen plenty of opportunity to serve slip through my fingers. Developing the ability to recognize those opportunities, and take action, only serves to make our part of Texas, the best part of Texas.
Let’s get to work.
Until next time,
Chief Eric Kaiser
ERIC KAISER is the Chief of the Jourdanton Police Department and is a Master Texas Peace Officer.