Heroes and Leaders

April 23, 2019  •  Leave a Comment

Heroes

 

Reading Michael Collins book, "Carrying the Flame" really brings back memories! WOW! My heroes in high school were a strange combination of astronauts and formula one drivers. Maybe not so different in dedication and shear bravery, but headed in different directions. In 1965, I met and spent maybe 15 minutes with Wally Schirra. He was dimunitive in size, a requirement to be an astronaut, but was a giant in my eyes. Not only had he been a test pilot but he had flown in space! I was totally in awe. Fast forward to 1976. I was working as an Engineer for Johns-Manville in a small plant in Denison, Texas. I was summoned to our Denver Headquarters to meet with the VP of operations about an assignment to turn a floundering project profitable. At that time I had heard that Johns-Manville had hired Wally Schirra as a Marketing VP working in the Denver Headquarters. During my meeting with the VP of Operations, Wally Schirra walked in. We were introduced. Wally immediately said, "Oh yes. We met once before didn't we? You were in high school? What was that, ten years ago?" I was floored. I am sure I must have made some sort of impression back then with my staccato delivery of questions! Heroes are really larger than life, except Wally Schirra was always so totally impressive. I always wanted to achieve greatness but I knew I would never be as great as the core group of early astronauts and as much as I was impressed by the Formula One drivers, I was more impressed with the design teams driving the forefront of Engineering in the pinnacle of both fields.
 


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