Never underestimate the power of a thank you

  • Published
  • By Lt.Col. Steve Mortensen
  • 62nd Airlift Wing Director of Staff
A few months ago I was in uniform at the base gas station when an older gentleman from the lane next to me peered around the pump and said "thanks for your service". As I said thank you back I realized his ball cap read something about being a Purple Heart recipient. I wondered why was he thanking me after what he earned? I've often thought back to that encounter but not more so than since air show weekend. 

When I took my family to the McChord Air Expo we sat down at a table to take a break from the day's events. Two men at an adjacent table leaned over to me and said "thank you for your service". As before, I thanked them for their comments when I realized they were both wearing lanyards with a card that said WWII Ace. I told them it was they who were deserving of my thanks. They, along with countless others, have served with pride, honor, and distinction paving the way for our nation's military to be the best in the world. 

Each day since the Air Expo I've pondered how much I'm thankful for. It's the sacrifices of thousands of men and women who daily answer the call to serve our country in uniform that deserve our thanks. It's my wife and two boys who deserve my thanks for putting up with life as a military dependent; moving to that next base when we're just getting settled, having to change jobs or friends, being without dad because of an exercise, deployment, or extra duty. I'm thankful for my staff and the leadership they provide their respective Wing Agencies. I'm thankful for those leaders and mentors who have guided me along in my career; people like Tom Day, Bernie Carey, Debbie Gray, Ken Konicki, and Chris Coley. 

I've come to realize through those three men who fought another war with another generation that we need to take the time to say thank you more often. Whether we're military or civilian serving on Active Duty, Guard, Reserve, we all have a lot to be thankful for. Never underestimate the power of a thank you -- take time to acknowledge someone's contributions today!