Once again, this group is nothing short of amazing.
It was colder than hell, traffic sucked, the parking lot filled up awfully quickly, and yet we still had a phenomenal turn out last night.
A great crowd, lots of great guests, and a lot of good will be done as a result of last night.
First and foremost, let’s talk about that Grinch moment from the other day.
That’s already been handled.
That $300 got sent to him first thing this morning:
For those of you who were curious about the PayPal setup we were running here on the site that didn’t get the answer last night – “Novatech Web Services” is the company I’ve owned and operated for almost 17 years now. So yes, it was all perfectly safe, we just haven’t gotten around to setting that sort of thing up for “us” as a company just yet. We’re working on that. But in the interest of speed, we went that route in order to get things taken care of…because that’s what we do.
So, aside from everything else that we’ll get to momentarily…thank you, all of you, for helping us take care of this unfortunate situation for one of our friends in the military and his family. It means a lot to him and his wife…but it also means a lot to us as well. So many of you last night specifically said “Make sure that soldier’s kids get a Christmas” or some variation of that as you were handing over a donation. You’re all incredibly caring, giving people…and all three of us are incredibly proud of this group, our members, and what we all do when we come together to do something good.
I’m spending the morning bouncing messages back and forth with Russ over in Ethiopia (he’s eight hours ahead of us) working through “the list”, figuring out shipping details, and making sure that we’ll have anything and everything the folks stationed over there need that we can get with the rest of the just over $2000 that was raised last night. There was a whole bunch of stuff that got donated as well, and we’ll be inventorying that over the weekend and coordinating the efforts to get that shipped out as well.
Which, again, merits a “holy crap”, a “wow”, and another over the top and sincere “thank you” to everyone who donated.
You really have no idea what it means to us to watch this group pull together to do things like this. It makes all of the That Guy moments, the headaches from coordinating events, the time spent on doing things…makes all of that worth it when we see things like last night happen.
Naturally, as in years past, as we get things organized and start shipping things off, we’ll provide updates.
And then we’ll make sure we get additional updates put out as things start arriving overseas.
Oh, and of course, a particularly special “thank you” from my jaw goes out to Master at Arms Second Class (Expeditionary Warfare Specialist) Kourtney Breen for her service, as well as for taking time out of her schedule and life to come to our event last night…and, of course, for being a critical part of getting that last $500 worth of donations in.
Next year, I swear it’s Bob or Jeff’s turn…
She had a great time chatting with everyone as well.
A lot of people commented to me that they expected her to be in IT with the military, but nope, not the case…though as the conversations went on throughout the night, she did mention she might have to start thinking about that direction after seeing what our group is like.
So again, thank you Kourtney. Hope to see you at future events in years to come.
For those not familiar with his background, most recently he’s been running the Veteran’s Services area of the State of Michigan government. With programs like Helping Hand, he tries to do everything he can for his fellow veterans.
Formerly an Executive with the Ford Motor Company, Major General Robert W. Smith III has significant global financial management expertise. On top of his distinguished medals for service in the U.S. Army Reserve, Robert has also received an Honorary Doctorate of Humane Letters from Florida A&M University.
So he has a lot of cred, background with the area, and in-depth knowledge of military life and the challenges that our veterans face both in the field and when they return home. It was an honor and a privilege to talk with him last night about our efforts, and also potentially getting engaged with some of those initiatives as a means to help further.
The organizers and some of the attendees of the most recent Shifting Gears class that we spoke at were also present last night. For those not familiar with Shifting Gears or what we do at those events, you can read about Shifting Gears at http://www.mitalent.org/michigan-shifting-gears-program/, and we do a “live” presentation of our 10 Commandments of Networking – http://www.ITinTheD.com/2697/the-new-and-improved-10-commandments-of-networking/ – as a means to try and help folks in career transitions understand networking a little better, why they should be doing it, and how not to do it the wrong way.
As far as turnout goes, it was great to see a lot of familiar faces, and quite a few new ones appearing as well.
People that have found jobs (two more showed up last night to say “thanks”), people looking for jobs, people looking to hire, people looking to meet other people in the industry, and even a few people who showed up just to find out what we were really all about in person.
It was great meeting and chatting with everyone, and we hope to see you all again at our events in 2014.
Speaking of 2014, we’ll be adding those events into the calendar here shortly.
In closing…again…thank you all for coming out last night and your overwhelming help in our efforts to support michigan military troops and their families. It’s an awesome way to close out the year.