Friday, March 28, 2014

The Power of One

Yesterday, Nate Lare and I had the pleasure of attending the Hometown Heroes event at the Mass Mutual Center in Springfield, as guests of the Executive Director of the Pioneer Valley Chapter of the American Red Cross, Mr. Rick Lee.

Mr. Lee, along with several other community leaders and experts in emergency and disaster preparedness,  have spoken this semester in my Humanitarian Logistics and Healthcare class at the Isenberg School. I recognized them in a Guest Editorial that I wrote and that was recently published on

The Hometown Heroes event was truly inspiring with about 600 in attendance!

Eleven area residents were recognized by the Red Cross for "selfless acts of courage." A nice photo of these extraordinary individuals, including teenagers appears on Their acts, whether by giving blood hundreds of times, starting a sports program for disabled children, or, in the case of several individuals,  saving lives after accidents, fires, or health incidents, are exceptional!

I took the photos below at the event yesterday and commend the Red Cross for all that it does! Mr. Rick Lee announced at this event, at which he also received a Lifetime Achievement Award from the Red Cross for his 30 years of extraordinary service, that he will retire as of this August. Who will replace him?

The ending video to the theme and music of The Power of One was especially moving with many in the audience tearing up. It featured such extraordinary women as Clara Barton, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank, with a segment on Mr. Rick Lee (which was a complete surprise to him). What a difference he has made through his work ethic, integrity, energy, and the building of powerful friendships and relationships. Who can say no to this amazing man!

So if, at times, you feel that you are all alone, know that you can, as the above individuals have, and the Hometown Heroes, as well, through The Power of One,  make a big difference. You can provide your students, colleagues, neighbors, and even strangers with a helping hand, a kind word, spiritual and physical sustenance, a smile, a token of appreciation, a congratulatory note, a conversation. Perhaps, through additional actions, research, writings, and a book you might even change the world! Never lose the courage to do what is right.

And, since, regrettably, the photo of  Mr. Rick Lee, Nate and me together at the event did not come out, I repost the photo taken of Mr. Rick Lee when he spoke to the students in my class this past February.
Nate is on the far left. And, to emphasize the amazing students in our Operations & Information Management program at the Isenberg School of Management at UMass Amherst that I am privileged to teach, Nate was a Hometown Hero in 2011 -- simply awesome! Nate alerted residents when a fire gutted their apartment complex.

Although this year's closing video is not online yet, I urge you to view last year's, which includes images of Clara Barton, Rosa Parks, and Anne Frank: