Plant seeds wisely; they determine our future
Dave, the yard Fab manager for Hamilton Construction, told the Leadership Development Lab:
"In the summer of 1959, I was nine years old and we lived in Empire, Oregon. Empire is a small community on the outskirts of Coos Bay. As is often the case with kids my age, after school is out, I was just hanging around the house with nothing much to do.
"The streets in front of our house were gravel and the city had contracted to have all the streets in my area of town paved. I was integral as I watched what was going on out in front of our house. Then one day, I decided this is the kind of work I would like to be able to do someday. I started hanging around the guys who were doing the work. When it came time for breaks, I would run to the store to buy them a pop or whatever snack they wanted, and then again at lunch time I would buy them stuff they wanted from our neighborhood store.
"Pretty soon I became one of the regular 'guys,' going around to all of their work sites with them. I pulled nails out of the framing boards, help load up lumber and pretty much do anything I could do to help out the guys. Hard to believe they let me get away with this. I know today the laws wouldn't let a 9-year old get away with volunteering to help like I did.
"This routine continued all summer. It was great being able to help the guys and feel good about what I was doing. The summer wore on and pretty soon they were finishing up the last job in our area of town. The guys packed up and headed home. They all thanked me and seemed to really appreciate what I had done to help out.
"That fall, on September 10th, after
school had started, I got a letter from Fred C. Dyer, the City Manager of Empire, thanking me for the work I had done. They bestowed on me the title of 'Honorary Assistant Engineer' for the city of Empire, Coos County, Oregon. Pretty big stuff for a 9-year old.
"Today I am a registered engineer and have been working for a construction firm I am very proud of for over 25 years. We build bridges throughout Oregon. Last year we were awarded the #1 Contractor Award by the state of Oregon Department of Transportation - ODOT. Fred Dyer gave me a great 'Life Sentence' over 40 years ago."
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