I am at the Austin Airport waiting for a late flight. While waiting thinking of my trip to Texas, I found myself visiting memories of the past.
It has been a few years since I have visited Texas, and it remains as friendly as ever. It was a busy, but a very productive trip. I met with many I knew and met many more new friends.
The visit of the past is reflected in this posted photo where Nina Gayheart joins me with three Marines I had the honor of serving with.
I met Franc Montalvo during 1983 and we have been connected by distance for some time. I think it was about five years since we last met. Franc is now retired and settled in Austin. Welcome Franc, as one of the first Learners of Texas. Franc is in the center of the photo.
The tallest gentleman is Michael C Sosa and we served together at 3rd Battalion 1st Marines. I am a firm believer that one learns from another and Mike taught me many things and what I learned most from Mike is to trust at all cost and learn from any mistakes. I had the opportunity to have lunch with Mike today and honored by his thoughts. It is Mike that has charged my means to serve and I thank him!
Eric is the fourth from the left in the photo. He too served with Mike and I. We all served on the Maiden Voyage of the USS Essex during 1994 in support of the Somalia withdrawal. I was proud to learn of Eric's post service success and his vision for future endeavors. I can remember Eric's demeanor during deployment and my responsibility to provide him the tools to serve others. He taught me the importance of always making more tools so that a service to others is second to none.
These Marines are just three of many that influenced me to create this organization and it was the many civilians that taught me how much the Community wants to Serve Veterans.
Texas is the third State we have signed Learners and with what I learned from this trip we are 47 States to go!
I want to extend my gratitude to John and Sigrid for hosting a dinner event yesterday. I met an extraordinary young man and his name is Austin. He is only 13, but you would easily mistaken him to be much older. Austin served as a reminder to me on why I do what I do! Thank you Austin!
After I spend a couple of days home I am off to Vancouver WA to sign for our second Center, which we are planning for a grand opening during May 2009 in honor of Memorial Day. From there, I head back home on the 25th and get ready to head to Chicago to sign on more Learners.
I want to thank you for reading my blog and for sharing with me how best to serve you so that together we can eradicate the notion of a homeless Veteran by 2035. God Bless, Al