I am proud to have received a number of awards and honors through the years for various educational achievements and newspaper journalistic work.
Some that come to mind include a 12th place national finish in the William Randolph Hearst Photojournalism competition for a photo story I did on a small-town gas station and local hangout in Ashland, Mo. while attending the University of Missouri-Columbia. I have also received numerous awards since moving to Iowa through the Iowa Newspaper Association for photography, writing and community service. In addition, I have been honored with the FFA Blue and Gold honor, the Friend of 4-H honor and my most recent, the News Media Award from the Iowa High School Athletic Association. I’m proud to have been recognized with all these honors and more.
But the most important honors are the personal ones that come along life’s way. That is what happened to me earlier this month.
I was at the Montezuma High School graduation on Saturday, May 14 to take photos for the CR paper and to watch our middle nephew graduate. At Montezuma, the top five seniors deliver speeches as part of the commencement program.
One of the seniors, Katie Reynolds, thanked me in her speech for covering events at the school. Hearing my name almost brought tears to my eyes. I was touched that this young lady, who could have mentioned anybody in her life, took the time to include me in her speech.
I have people thank me for going the extra mile on my day job and others who have thanked me for this or that through the years. It means a lot to me to have someone do that.
It also reminds me of the importance of thanking others and being appreciative of those who make life easier and more pleasant for all.
There are a lot of good people doing good things in this world. It is easy to let what others do be overshadowed with the negative going on in our world. That makes it even more important to be appreciative of others and take time to thank them for helping.
A couple months ago, Debbie and I and our oldest nephew visited Sam’s Club in Ankeny. I like the Gold Leaf unsweet tea and where it usually is in the store was empty. I looked around and found a large pallet of the tea on one of the upper shelves.
“I’m not leaving this store without a couple cases of unsweet tea,” I told myself.
I found an employee and asked for help. He got on his walkie talkie asking for help with no luck.
“This is my third day on the job and I’m going get someone to help,” he told me as he headed to the warehouse.
And he did.
It wasn’t too long and a forklift showed up and set the pallet down and I had two cases in my shopping cart. After we checked out, I asked to speak with a manager. There was about a 10-minute wait for her. I shared about how this young man went over and above to help me. The manager said she appreciated me telling her that.
I hope he got a raise or a maybe a promotion.
Often times when you ask about a product, the clerk will say, “If it isn’t on the shelf, we are out.”
That is not always the case. Sometimes, not always, the store will have a pallet or a couple of boxes in the back stockroom. The problem is laziness and unwillingness to help. To me, that is what they are paid for. It only takes a few minutes to check.
I guess I was raised in a different time zone.
Life is so much easier when you spend more time being appreciative and staying away from the negative. It’s easy to be negative and find fault. Everyone makes mistakes. Take the high road in life. Say thank you, hold the door open for others, do good deeds and take pride in all you do every day, every hour and every minute.
That’s the best reward you will ever receive.
Have a great week and always remember that “Good Things are Happening,” every day and always.