March 31, 2020

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Remember the People Who Pack the Chutes (You Never Know Who You’re Sitting Next To)

 
Gordon Graham
Category: Public Safety

Gordon Graham here, as you can tell, still in quarantine, with Today’s Tip from Lexipol. And today’s tip is that you never know who is sitting next to you.

So, who’s packing your chute? Right now you are doing fantastic things as first responders and I thank you for that, but remember that there are people behind the scenes working long hours to make sure the cars are going to work, to make sure you got the necessary equipment, to make sure we’ve got the budgets to do our job correctly.

So a couple of years ago I got invited to a last lecture. Dr. Richard Resurreccion taught public safety people for 40 years, Ph.D., brilliant guy, and a long time friend of mine. He invited me to his last lecture, which is essentially a retirement luncheon.

I was sitting at his table and I got a guy sitting next to me and I turned to him, shake his hand – “I’m Gordon Graham.”

“I’m Charlie Plumb.”

You never know who’s sitting next to you.

Wiki him. Google him. Charlie Plumb, Captain, United States Navy. Went flying off the Kitty Hawk during the Vietnam War, got shot down, got caught, got captured, got put into the Hanoi Hilton with John McCain. Ultimately got released, ultimately got home.

Sitting in a diner one day long after the war, having a cup of coffee, a guy comes up to him and says, “You’re Captain Plumb, aren’t ya?” “I am, and you are?” “You don’t know me. I packed your chute that day. How’d it work out for ya?” Can you imagine that? “I packed your chute that day. You don’t know me.”

His book, I’m No Herois all about the people behind the scenes, the people who are packing your chute. How many times, Captain Plumb says in his book, did I walk by that guy on the aircraft carrier and never even acknowledge his presence?  I didn’t even know who he was and this is the guy that ultimately saved my life because he did a diligent job in packing the chute.

So, who’s packing your chute? Right now you are doing fantastic things as first responders and I thank you for that, but remember that there are people behind the scenes working long hours to make sure the cars are going to work, to make sure you got the necessary equipment, to make sure we’ve got the budgets to do our job correctly. Please tell them thank you and again, thank you for all your great work. This is Gordon Graham signing off.

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