Yesterday I attended a military funeral for a former "First Shirt" (aka First Sergeant) who was a great man. This post is primarily about him and his leadership. But I'm putting in a side note first...
Lately, I have not been using the Internet and computer as the tools they are, but instead more as time-fillers, and the kids have been looking to watch "special" family movies or play video games almost nightly, creating somewhat of a nightmare in our lives together. Screen time is not what we want for our children or our family dynamic. Personally, I have three work projects to complete now, in addition to the projects we're engaged in as a family (like refinishing the basement!) and I want to reset the way we spend our time. SO, I'm taking a break from the engaging-but-time-wasting activities that I perform on the screen. For the next 30 days, we have put away the Wii and Nintendo DS's; we've unhooked the TV; we're limiting our time on the computer to work- and school-related projects and activities. I get about 150 e-mail a day from various sources - so I'll check those for one hour a week on Fridays.
Otherwise, if I'm needed more urgently, it is best to use the old-fashioned methods of communication: call the house or the cell phone, or hearkening back to even darker days: come knock on the door.
Now on to the funeral - because I cannot think of a more fitting way to pause my blog than to leave a note of remembrance for someone who was truly a stand up fellow.
SMSgt Ray Tudino was Jeff's "First Shirt" for several years and has made the round as First Shirt for a few other local units as well. We arrived ten minutes early, maybe a little more, and the parking lot was already filled with cars - we parked on the street, and walked up the hill to the chapel with friends we've served with who had flown in from Texas, Germany, and other points on the globe. That's what kind of man Ray was, people respected him and want to honor him, so they came from wherever they are stationed, no matter how far.
At the front of the chapel, was a pair of military boots, standing empty. Where the boots meet at the heels, was a military-issue rifle, stiffly upright, a set of dog tags hanging down in front. On top of the rifle was a military helmet, empty, chin strap hanging down: the symbols of a military man lost. The ceremony started with the Final Roll Call...
"Present." 'Sgt. Rollins' stands ready.
"Present." 'Airman Phebes' stands ready.
"Senior Airman Blake..."
"Present." as 'SrA Blake' stands ready.
"Senior Master Sergeant Ray Tudino..."
"Senior Master Sergeant Raymond Tudino..."
"I regret to report that SMSgt Raymond Tudino is not present..."
Rest in Peace, Ray. You will be sorely missed.
And so, I will post again in a few weeks.