Oh Captain! My Captain!
O Captain! my Captain! our fearful trip is done,
The ship has weather'd every rack, the prize we sought is won,
The port is near, the bells I hear, the people all exulting,
While follow eyes the steady keel, the vessel grim and daring;
But O heart! heart! heart!
O the bleeding drops of red,
Where on the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
O Captain! my Captain! rise up and hear the bells;
Rise up--for you the flag is flung--for you the bugle trills,
For you bouquets and ribbon'd wreaths--for you the shores a-crowding,
For you they call, the swaying mass, their eager faces turning;
Here Captain! dear father!
This arm beneath your head!
It is some dream that on the deck,
You've fallen cold and dead.
My Captain does not answer, his lips are pale and still,
My father does not feel my arm, he has no pulse nor will,
The ship is anchor'd safe and sound, its voyage closed and done,
From fearful trip the victor ship comes in with object won;
Exult O shores, and ring O bells!
But I with mournful tread,
Walk the deck my Captain lies,
Fallen cold and dead.
Walt Whitman (1819-1892)
June 14, 1940 - April 25, 2004
Nearly every person alive works for another person at some point in their lives. I imagine most people think their boss is an okay guy or gal. I know there are a percentage of folks who think their boss is a grade-A jackass. I wonder how many people have a boss they think of as their hero, a father figure, as the guy who turned their life around.
That's who Mickey was to me.
I started work for him in May of 1999. On one of my first days he sat me down and said, "My goal is to make Pacific AgPak a place where people want to get up in the morning to come to work."
Mickey had a way of instilling his trust in you to the point that you learned to believe in yourself and your ability to accomplish whatever task or goal he set before you. He was loyal to a fault, and he was generous. While there was often a pat on the back, Mickey was better known for putting his money where his mouth was. When he rewarded his employees, he wanted to be sure it was to an extent that would have an impact on their lives, that they could feel the difference when they had to pay the bills or were heading out on vacation.
Please endure one anecdote. I had been there for a year and was preparing for a vacation to take my family to Nevada to see some of my boyhood haunts and to visit some old friends. My front tires needed balancing, so I took my car around the corner to the tire place that everyone here uses. When I got my car back the tires were balanced. It also had two new tires and new brakes all around. He just said he needed to make sure we had a safe drive over the mountains.
Whenever you thanked him for any reward, any extra, any perk, he always had the same answer, "You work hard, you deserve it."
He challenged me to be better, he had high expectations, and when I came through, he never acted surprised. He never asked anyone to do anything he didn't think they could do. His belief was infectious. I may not be the best of men, but I'm a better man today because of him. I live a better life and provide a better life for my family because of him.
They say success is measured not by the magnitude of the achievement, but by the manner in which it is achieved. If that is the case, then Mickey was a success beyond admiration.
He turned my life around, and I will never forget him.