Is There an Escort?

I’ve copied the below post from an email I received from a fellow Air Force Veteran. I thought it in the spirit of this Thanksgiving week, I’d share a story of people that I do not know but am Thankful for them.  It gives me hope which increases my faith in the goodness of people.  My daughter, who works in retail, is somewhat of a curmudgeon during the Holidays.  I offer this as a reminder to find the good in every situation, it’s always there sometimes you just have to look harder to find it.
My lead flight attendant came to me and said, “We have an H.R. on this flight.” (H.R. stands for human remains.)

“Are they military?” I asked. “Yes”, she said.

“Is there an escort?” I asked.

“Yes, I’ve already assigned him a seat.”

“Would you please tell him to come to the Flight Deck. You can board him early,” I said.

A short while later a young army sergeant entered the flight deck. He was the image of the perfectly dressed soldier. He introduced himself and I asked him about his soldier.

The escorts of these fallen soldiers talk about them as if they are still alive and still with us. ‘My soldier is on his way back home’ he said. He proceeded to answer my questions, but offered no words.

I asked him if there was anything I could do for him and he said no. I told him that he had the toughest job in the military, and that I appreciated the work that he does for the families of our fallen soldiers. The first officer and I got up out of our seats to shake his hand. He left the Flight Deck to find his seat.

We completed our preflight checks, pushed back and performed an uneventful departure. About 30 minutes into our flight, I received a call from the lead flight attendant in the cabin.

“I just found out the family of the soldier we are carrying, is also on board”, she said.

She then proceeded to tell me that the father, mother, wife and 2-year old daughter were escorting their son, husband, and father home. The family was upset because they were unable to see the container that the soldier was in before we left.  We were on our way to a major hub at which the family was going to wait four hours for the connecting flight home. The father of the soldier told the flight attendant that knowing his son was below him in the cargo compartment and being unable to see him was too much for him and the family to bear. He had asked the flight attendant if there was anything that could be done to allow them to see him upon our arrival. The family wanted to be outside by the cargo door to watch the soldier being taken off the airplane.

I could hear the desperation in the flight attendants voice when she asked me if there was anything I could do. ‘I’m on it’, I said. I told her that I would get back to her.

Airborne communication with my company normally occurs in the form of e-mail like messages. I decided to bypass this system and contact my flight dispatcher directly on a secondary radio. There is a radio operator in the operations control center who connects you to the telephone of the dispatcher. I was in direct contact with the dispatcher. I explained the situation I had on board with the family and what it was the family wanted. He said he understood and that he would get back to me.

Two hours went by and I had not heard from the dispatcher. We were going to get busy soon and I needed to know what to tell the family. I sent a text message asking for an update. I saved the return message from the dispatcher and the following is the text:
Captain, sorry it has taken so long to get back to you. There is policy on this now, and I had to check on a few things. Upon your arrival a dedicated escort team will meet the aircraft. The team will escort the family to the ramp and plane side. A van will be used to load the remains with a secondary van for the family. The family will be taken to their departure area and escorted into the terminal, where the remains can be seen on the ramp. It is a private area for the family only. When the connecting aircraft arrives, the family will be escorted onto the ramp and plane side to watch the remains being loaded for the final leg home. Captain, most of us here in flight control are veterans. Please pass our condolences on to the family. Thanks.’
I sent a message back, telling flight control thanks for a good job. I printed out the message and gave it to the lead flight attendant to pass on to the father. The lead flight attendant was very thankful and told me, ‘You have no idea how much this will mean to them.’

Things started getting busy for the descent, approach and landing. After landing, we cleared the runway and taxied to the ramp area. The ramp is huge with 15 gates on either side of the alleyway. It is always a busy area with aircraft maneuvering every which way to enter and exit. When we entered the ramp and checked in with the ramp controller, we were told that all traffic was being held for us.

‘There is a team in place to meet the aircraft’, we were told. It looked like it was all coming together, then I realized that once we turned the seat belt sign off, everyone would stand up at once and delay the family from getting off the airplane. As we approached our gate, I asked the copilot to tell the ramp controller, we were going to stop short of the gate to make an announcement to the passengers. He did that and the ramp controller said, ‘Take your time.’

I stopped the aircraft and set the parking brake. I pushed the public address button and said: “Ladies and gentleman, this is your Captain speaking: I have stopped short of our gate to make a special announcement. We have a passenger on board who deserves our honor and respect. His Name is Private XXXXXX, a soldier who recently lost his life. Private XXXXXX is under your feet in the cargo hold. Escorting him today is Army Sergeant XXXXXXX. Also, on board are his father, mother, wife, and daughter. Your entire flight crew is asking for all passengers to remain in their seats to allow the family to exit the aircraft first. Thank you.”

We continued the turn to the gate, came to a stop and started our shutdown procedures. A couple of minutes later I opened the cockpit door. I found the two forward flight attendants crying, something you just do not see. I was told that after we came to a stop, every passenger on the aircraft stayed in their seats, waiting for the family to exit the aircraft.

When the family got up and gathered their things, a passenger slowly started to clap his hands. Moments later, more passengers joined in and soon the entire aircraft was clapping. Words of ‘God Bless You’, I’m sorry, thank you, be proud, and other kind words were uttered to the family as they made their way down the aisle and out of the airplane. They were escorted down to the ramp to finally be with their loved one.

Many of the passengers disembarking thanked me for the announcement I had made. They were just words, I told them, I could say them over and over again, but nothing I say will bring back that brave soldier.

I respectfully ask that all of you reflect on this event and the sacrifices that millions of our men and women have made to ensure our freedom and safety in these UNITED STATES OF AMERICA & CANADA.

Foot note:
I know everyone who reads this will have tears in their eyes, including me. Prayer chain for our Military… Don’t break it! Please send this on after a short prayer for our service men and women.

Don’t break it!
They die for me and mine and you and yours and deserve our honor and respect.

Prayer Request:
When you receive this, please stop for a moment and say a prayer for our troops around the world… There is nothing attached. Just send this to people in your address book. Do not let it stop with you. Of all the gifts you could give a Marine, Soldier, Sailor, Airman, and others deployed in harm’s way, prayer is the very best one.

Thank you all who have served, or are serving.

We Will Not Forget!!

As I mentioned, I copied this from an email I received.  I didn’t edit it.  So, it might take an extra step in sending out this Prayer request.  As I am giving thanks to all members of the Military, I would be remiss if I overlooked others that service: EMTs, Nurses, Police and Firefighters.

Happy Thanksgiving.

Are You Prepared For the UNEXPECTED?

A woman went to a pet shop and immediately spotted a large,beautiful parrot. There was a sign on the cage that said, $ 50.00.

” Why so little she asked the pet store owner?” The owner looked at her And said, ” Look, I should tell you tell you first that this bird lived in a house of prostitution, and sometimes it says some pretty vulgar stuff.” The woman thought about this , but decided to have the bird anyway.

She took it home and hung it in  her living room and waited for it to say something. The bird looked around the room and said, : New house, new madam.” The woman was shocked at the implication but then thought , ‘that ‘s not really so bad”.

When her two daughters returned from school, the bird saw them and said, ” New house,new madam, new girls”. The girls and and the woman were a bit offended but then began to laugh about the situation considering where the parrot had been raised.

Moments later. the woman’s later the woman’s husband  Carl came home from work. The bird looked at him and said,” Hi Carl”

Are  you prepared for the unexpected? I can help. ASK  ME HOW!


April 15,2014




Presidents’ Day Tribute from a Grateful Citizen

Today is one of those great late Winter days. The sky is a clear crystalline Blue. The sun is out shining, providing much needed warmth. The temperature is hovering right above 50 degrees. As I was out on my daily walk, patrolling the neigbhorhood, I found a heads up penny. I, of course, picked it up for good luck. I rubbed my fingers over the penny, feeling the rough nicks and edges that have been created from its time on the asphalt road before I rescued it. As I examined this penny, minted in 1976 – 200 years after the Declaration of Independence, I thought about the lessons of this Nations Forefathers and I wonder if they would be proud of what we, the nation, have done with the legacy they left?

Former President Richard Nixon on January 1, 1971 moved Presidents’ Day to the third Monday in February to honor all past presidents of the United States. I remember growing up I thought it was a holiday for Abraham Lincoln and George Washington’s birthdays. I also thought that if I grew up to be president that I would have a federal holiday for my birthday and serve only chocolate ice cream.

As I reflect on Presidents’ Day and the lessons from the commander-in-chief of the Continental Army and commander-in-chief of the Union Army, I am reminded of lessons from my own father. Although he wasn’t in the army, he did serve in the Armed Forces.

He taught me that no one is an over night success. He taught me to believe in my dreams, because no one can take them away from you. He taught me that hard work and determination are always worth pursuing. He taught me how to treat people fairly and with respect. I, as an individual, will always be part of a team – whether it is personal or professional. And, my team may be my family, my work group, my neighborhood community, my state, my country and my planet. A team can have a few members or it can have over 7 billion. He taught me the 7Ps: Proper-prior-planning-prevents-piss-poor-performance. He taught me that Love is always stronger than Hate. He taught me to always fill the car with gas before you get on the turnpike.

I feel that the greatest lesson he taught me was responsibility. I am not only responsible for myself, but also for those within my sphere of influence. As I think of the National Debt for this country and realize that as a citizen, I am responsible for over $50,000 of the $16 Trillion dollars. I admit that I am not happy with having $50,000 worth of debt, however I am willing to admit my responsibility within this debt because I am a citizen of the United States. And, I have a responsiblity to participate and question what my government does. I have a responsibility to do my due-diligence about the individuals that want to speak on my behalf in my government. And, if I choice to blindly let individuals stay in office that do not share my interests or beliefs that I do not have the right to complain.

So, as you celebrate this Presidents’ Day consider the lessons of our past presidents’ and what have you learned?

Solar Power Keeps Attic Cool

Are you looking for ways to keep your house cool this summer? Consider installing a solar powered attic ventilator.  Attic Breeze Solar Attic Fans have a residential LIFETIME product warranty and are American made.  

Having ventilation in your attic can extend the life of your roof.  In the hot summer months, adequate attic ventilation can prevent heat build-up, which can reduce the heat transfer from attic to living space and reduce your air conditioning costs.  And, having a solar powered attic ventilator reduces the energy load and your energy costs.

Attic Breeze, an American manufacturer, is based in Gatesville, TX.  In 2011, they completed the installation of a photovoltaic system to produce enough electricity to power the entire facility.

Attic Breeze offers The Zephyr, their residential solar powered ventilation products.  And The Grande which covers large-scale residential or commercial ventilation.  Click here to watch the installation of a solar powered attic ventilator.


Thursday Thoughts

How much time do you devote to training?  How much more training would you be able to do if it was around your time schedule?  I recently read that bnp media offers free webinars on the latest industry topics.  Also, they are sponsoring the Virtual Green Expo on Thursday August 2 from 9am – 4pm.  If interested in attending, click here.  Happy training.

Ich bin Amerikaner

Today in 1963, U.S. President John F. Kennedy gave a speech in West Berlin. On the steps of Rathaus Schöneberg for an audience of 450,000, Kennedy said,

“Two thousand years ago the proudest boast was civis Romanus sum [“I am a Roman citizen”]. Today, in the world of freedom, the proudest boast is “Ich bin ein Berliner!”… All free men, wherever they may live, are citizens of Berlin, and, therefore, as a free man, I take pride in the words “Ich bin ein Berliner!”

No offense to President Kennedy, but I believe the proudest boast is “Ich bin Amerikaner” = “I am an American”.  The American Flag is a symbol of this boast.  It represents the pride in our country, it is the symbol of the dreams of freedom, it represents the ideals our Founding Fathers have built this nation upon.  In the next 31 days, two events will take place that will put the American Flag in center stage: 4th of July and Summer Olympics.

Surprisingly, not all American Flags are Made in America.  The Flag Manufacturers Association of America,  established the “Certified Made In the U.S.A.” certification program.  For a flag to carry this label, all of the materials must be domestic in origin and every step of its manufacture are completed in a U.S. facility with U.S. labor.

The following are American Flag Manufacturers that meet the FMAA certifications:

  • Annin Flagmakers is the oldest and largest maker of flags in the United States.  Founded in 1847 by brothers Benjamin and Edward Annin, it is still family owned and operated.  They employ over 500 Americans and have several manufacturing and distribution facilities in the U.S.  To find a Flag retailer near you click here.
  • CF Flag, Chicago Flag & Decorating company, has been manufacturing US and State flags since 1898.  They are the first American Manufacturer to produce the U.S. Flag made from recycled materials.
  • J.C. Schultz Enterprises, Inc, founded in 1920 was a fraternal regalia manufacturer.  In the 1960s, the third generation family members launched the company to a full line Flag and Banner manufacturer.  They also designed and manufactured the first McDonald’s corporate flag.
  • Valley Forge Flag, founded in 1882 is a family owned and operated American Manufacturer employing over 300 people.  They are headquartered in Pennsylvania, and have a manufacturing and distribution facility in South Carolina.  To find a Flag retailer near you click here.

As you prepare to celebrate the national day commemorating the adoption of the Declaration of Independence , please remember to support American Manufacturing and buy an American Made American Flag.  Also, consider helping support Team USA Olympic and Paralympic athletes participating in the 2012 Games.  Learn more and how to support here.

US Manufacturing says Yes to Wheat and No to Waste

“I’ll huff and I’ll puff” and it won’t make a difference to the straw in this product. Although relatively new to the US Manufacturing market, Stramit Technologies has been producing boards and panels for nearly 50 years. The CAFboard, Compressed Agricultural Fiber board, has been used in prefabricated buildings, doors, and thermal and sound-proofing linings.

The straw that’s used to create CAFboard can be tilled into the earth or burned, but Stramit USA buys bales and runs them through the long machine that’s pictured. The rapidly renewable material is broken and screened of debris and then compressed with Jetson Green

We are very interested in the applications that this product will bring to the industry. We welcome all photos and submissions of uses with this product. Big Bad Wolf need not apply.

Click here to visit the original source of this post

Trending for ‘Made in America’ seen in Wood Industry

Furniture Manufacturing is another Industry that is trending growth for American Made products. Many furniture manufacturers that had been outsourcing their furniture production in Shanghai and China are returning their production facilities to the U.S.

Efforts like Made in America and Made in USA initiatives, and media attention such as ABC’s “American Made” series, are building consumers’ awareness, coaxing them to seek out domestically produced goods, even if they have to pay a bit more for them.

The increase in manufacturer trending for ‘American Made‘ products provides many advantages for companies, the environment, the consumer, and most importantly, the American Worker.

Click here to visit the original source of this post

Thursday’s Thoughts…..

I attended a quarterly Regional Housing Forum yesterday.  The Forum topic was This is NOT Your Parent’s Housing Market. The feature presentation was given by Dr. Arthur C. Nelson, Presidential Professor of City & Metropolitan Planning in the College of Architecture + Planning at the University of Utah.  He is the author of more than 20 books and 300 other scholarly and professional publications.  After his presentation, he was joined by a panel of  3 other industry professionals.

His presentation covered trends in the housing market for the period of 2010-2030 that he had concluded from his research.  Many of the trends covered the largest sector of the market – the needs of the Baby Boomers.  The presentation brought many questions to my mind of how the building industry and communities would respond to the coming needs of our citizens.

However, during the middle of his presentation on housing trends he made several points on education.  At first I thought it was a tangent because as a college professor his business is education.  The further the discussion, the more questions that raised with no clear, readily available solutions.

Dr. Nelson stated that we, as citizens, would look back at the early 2000s as the hey-day in public education.  And we are currently doing our youth a disservice with our education system.  Education is the basis for the skills acquired to lead them to their future careers.  Without education they won’t acquire skills; without skills they won’t acquire good-paying jobs; without good-paying jobs they won’t acquire financing; and without financing they won’t buy a house.  Where does that leave the housing industry?

So, I wonder, where does that leave the housing industry?  And, what, if any, responsibilities do we as builders and developers have in other areas of industry?

I look forward to your open points of discussion.

American Made Builder

Dr. Nelson’s presentation is available for download at

US Manufacturing Bedrock for ECO Laminate

Laminate flooring has come a long way from it’s introduction to the market in the late 1970’s. The built environment has long used laminate flooring as the “affordable” option. The laminate flooring of today is stylish yet durable. “Laminate provides the desired look, no matter how scarce, without depleting natural resources.” says Bill Dearing, president of the North American Laminate Flooring Association [NALFA].

Homeowners and DIYers alike are choosing laminate’s because they are environmentally sustainable, budget-friendly, and easy to install. This American Made product utilizes pre and post consumer waste, diverting 60 – 70% that would be heading to the landfill. It simulates the look of stone, slate, concrete, and wood.

“Consumers are becoming increasingly conscious of the importance of environmentally friendly products.” It’s made with recycled natural resources producing a heavy-duty, high-density core board. It’s free of air-damaging chemicals.

Click here to visit the original source of this post

Mannington Mills is a US Manufacturer that makes both carpet and hard surface flooring. This American Made company operates four plant locations: Alabama, Georgia, New Jersey and North Carolina. Founded in 1915 in Salem, NJ, they have been manufacturing hardwood, laminate, porcelain tile & commerical carpets. Click to watch their American Manufacturing Story.

In 2008, Mannington Mills acquired Burke Industries. Burke Industries has two US Manufacturing plants: Florida and California. Burke Industies offers rubber flooring tiles, wall base, treads and accessories.