By: Kathy Kent Toney, President of Kent Business Solutions
Last month I had the privilege to attend Randy Powell’s Lessons in Leadership with WWII Veteran Edgar Harrell. For those of you who are not familiar with Sgt. Edgar Harrell, he is the only remaining Marine survivor of the USS Indianapolis tragedy.
To say his firsthand account of his experience was moving, is an understatement. I had to turn off my webcam, because the tears were flowing pretty freely! There’s just something about hearing veteran’s stories that choke me up on a regular basis…the sacrifice they’ve made for our country stirs something inside of me that I can’t put into words.
I digress, so let’s get back to the story…
For those of you not familiar with what happened to the USS Indianapolis, or if you’d like a refresher on what happened to the USS Indianapolis, here’s a description from Sgt. Harrell’s website:
On July 16, 1945, the USS Indianapolis departed from San Francisco for the American B-29 base on Tinian island with a top-secret cargo that would ultimately put an end to World War II—components for the first operational atomic bombs. After a record run, covering 5,300 miles in only ten days, the Indianapolis successfully delivered her cargo on July 26, 1945, and was ordered to set a course from Guam to the Leyte Gulf in the Philippines to prepare for the invasion of Japan. Traveling unescorted, at fourteen minutes past midnight on July 30, 1945, she was hit by two Japanese torpedoes midway between Guam and Leyte, sending her to a watery grave in twelve minutes. Of the 1,196 men aboard, about 900 sailors and Marines entered the water. Due to a series of Navy debacles, no one knew of their plight. Five horrifying days later, 317 men who had survived the terror of shark attacks, hypothermia, severe dehydration and salt-water hallucinations, were accidentally spotted and rescued.
[For those of you who want to hear his story first-hand, here’s a condensed version of the full-length video.]
Sgt. Harrell gave a riveting account of his ordeal. His courage, valor and never-give-up attitude is so inspiring. It got me to thinking…what were the things he did that saw him through?
Here are what I see as firm choices he made to survive those 4 ½ days afloat in the ocean:
[Here’s a condensed version, for those of you who would like to hear his story]
I thought I’d share his story, because I believe Sgt. Harrell’s account can be a true source of inspiration for all of us. During this strange season, so many feel like we’re hanging on for dear life, wondering if we’ll make it through these tough times. I have several friends who have lost loved ones to COVID and so many businesses, especially small ones, have suffered or closed up shop. Many are ready for 2020 to be over.
For those of us in that situation, I truly believe that we would all do well to make choices like Sgt. Harrell did to survive.
Here are a couple of thoughts along these lines…
When we make decisions during tough times, like Sgt. Harrell did, to persevere, have faith and hope, and help others along the way in the process, we’ll have more grit to make it through…not only to survive, but to thrive. I think that if we can carry this never-give-up mindset going into 2021, we’ll more clearly see it’s a year of endless opportunities and good things to come.
Speaking of 2021, how is that looking for your business? Does your old "2020" vision need some refocusing, to determine what challenges are most important to tackle?
If that’s you, I’d love to have a chat! If I can’t help you in a particular area, I have a whole team of alliance partners with over 300 years of executive experience that can provide for any need you may have.
Click here to set up a time for a quick chat!