A few weeks ago, I had the pleasure of attending Home Field Advantages’ 5th Annual Celebration of Service dinner in Colorado Springs. The Celebration of Service was created to help cultivate a culture of service by, #1) inspiring attendees to become better citizens by helping others to be better, #2) saluting those protecting us – our Front-Line Forces (Military & First Responders) and #3) acknowledging those providing support.
The theme of this year’s event was unity through service which is something our country is in very desperate need of. Russ Laney, the founder of Home Field Advantage said “If we look back in history, the last time our country was so divided may have been during the Civil War. This division is a direct threat to our homefield advantage”.
Russ also said “We now live in a time when common human decency and respect for each other are rare. Our differences, once viewed as a source of strength and pride are now what are tearing us apart. Dividing our nation and creating an environment where our ability to simply get along, understand each other and work toward common goals is quickly becoming a thing of the past.”
Stephen Covey summed this well by saying “The essence of synergy is to value differences- to respect them, to build on strengths, to compensate for weaknesses.”
Some of the highlights of the event included Mayor John Suthers and the City of Colorado Springs being honored with the DeBerry Award for their work with organizations supporting youth and Front-Line Forces. Then Home Field advantage and Janine Sijan presented General Mark Welsh with the Sijan Service Award. General Welsh was the 20th Chief of Staff of the Air Force and is currently the Dean of the Bush School of Government and Public Service.
This award is named in honor of Lance P Sijan, the only Air Force Academy graduate to receive the Medal of Honor. Lance’s story is incredible and a testament to his extraordinary endurance and courage in the face of daunting odds. Janine Sijan, Lance’s sister, spoke at the event and shared that lance’s story is really about the ability each of have not to give up and to overcome even the most challenging obstacles in our lives.
The Making of a Hero
After being badly injured when his plane exploded and went down in Laos Vietnam after a bomb fuse failure, Lance P Sijan ended up on the ground and despite a broken leg and other injuries, he crawled on his back for over 46-days to escape capture. He was captured on Christmas day, then he escaped and was captured again. Despite his captor’s best efforts to break him through torture, he never gave away any information. Lance died on January 22, 1968. This heroic act saved many lives and is celebrated each year at the awards.
Click here for more details on Lance’s story.
We all left the event feeling inspired to do more to serve others. Life is very pressured, and it may not seem like you have the power to make a difference but even the smallest act of service can have a big impact. I encourage you to look around you to see where you can find ways to serve others. If you need some help finding volunteer opportunities check out VolunteerMatch.com.