Can you see the light? Share your knowledge

  • Published
  • By Col. Michael Panarisi
We've had a fantastic string of events in the last couple of weeks, and they shared a common theme ... I saw a real spark in people's eyes, and that's feedback that's pretty rare these days.

It's so easy to get in a rut, focus on our own issues or just hunker down in the face of adversity.

But here's another approach.

Look for something you can do to make a difference in someone else's life and see how your perspective might change.

I heard a local radio personality refer to this as "never miss a chance to "rock someone's world."

There's no doubt in my mind we did just that!

We hosted some really special guests recently.

Over the last month, we took on the challenge of paying tribute to our veterans when we executed our annual "Veterans' picnic."

If you missed that event, you missed something truly special.

These veterans are residents of the local VA hospital and getting out of that environment for a day means the world to them.

Just sitting with them, sharing a meal and hearing their stories will make a believer out of just about anyone.

You can't miss the fire in their eyes as they recall their contributions to our nation's defense and, for some of them, their wars were over four decades ago.

We also expanded our "Evening at Arnold" series and are now running that show on a quarterly basis.

Thanks to the generous support of our Arnold Community Council, we have brought more than 200 teachers to see the base and made valuable contacts in our community.

These contacts are the ticket to helping these teachers see how we can help them in the classrooms, with guest speakers, demonstrations or just simple ideas on how to enrich their science and math lessons.

I saw some really excited teachers that night!

Many of them have followed up and are now planning lessons with the sights and sounds of Arnold at the core of their plans.

And, in one of my favorite events, we brought almost 375 eighth graders around the base as part of our Minds in Motion campaign. (See photos on page 9)

You just have to see the looks on their faces when we take them inside the big wind tunnel or over to SL-2.

Sure, we can't possibly hope to "reach them all," but for those that took notice, it was obvious.

The beauty of all this is you don't have to gin up a big program to make a difference in someone's life.

Sometimes it's as simple as a kind word, an unexpected "thank you," or a call out in a meeting.

Dig a little deeper, and you probably know someone who just needs a lift.

Maybe you know a student who is still struggling with a certain lesson, or needs a little guidance on what to pursue as a career.

Whatever the case, your choice to get involved will pay big dividends, and seeing the "light in their eyes" is all the payback you'll ever need.

Give it a try.

If you'd like to participate in one of our formal programs, just talk to the POC and find out how you can pitch in. Or think about a local group that might need a boost, maybe the Scouts or a 4-H club.

It could be as close as the "boy next door."

Wherever you find the need, your work will not go unnoticed.

And the difference you make can last a lifetime.