Ringing in the New Year with a Bang

Kevin Kruse Leadership Badge My Irish grandmother used to have certain traditions to ring in the new year. The first was to bang pots and pans at midnight to make noise, and the second was to light a candle all day, with one door or window open on each side of the apartment or house to let “in with the new, and out with the old.”

Well, I think my grandma would have been proud today to know that the good wind of 2015 brought in a listing of me as one of New York Times bestselling author Kevin Kruse’s top 101 favorite leadership and speakers. [Read more…]

Lessons from a Humble Warrior

George Ormond, 1917, a proud member of "New York's Division"

George Ormond, 1917, a proud member of “New York’s Division”

In honor of Veterans Day – a story about my grandfather.

George Ormond’s pale blue eyes watered until the day he died. But he never complained about the Great War. Word was that mustard gas got him, but in those days, people didn’t talk much about injuries, follow-on treatment, or post-traumatic stress. My grandfather died when I was 21, about the same age he was when returning from the war. I wish I’d had adult conversations with him about his experiences, but it’s obviously too late. He likely didn’t realize how interested people might be in a blue-collar kid from Brooklyn’s renditions of his encounters on the front lines. [Read more…]

Learning Something New Every Day

Being Secretary of the Maryland Horse Council is not always that secretarial. Take for instance, this past weekend’s Maryland Horse Council Annual Barbeque, when I had the opportunity to play polo on the Maryland Horse Council Executive Committee’s team.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photo by Sue O'Donnell.

Valerie Ormond (left), Grace Fulton (center), and Jaime Navarro (right). Photos and videos by Sue O’Donnell.

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Inspirational Young Horse Saver

I reconnected with a childhood friend recently whose daughter, Nicole, volunteers with Freedom Hill Horse Rescue. My friend mentioned Nicole was preparing her end-of-year book report and diorama on my book, “Believing In Horses.” When I saw her diorama and read her report, I found it so touching that I wanted to share them with others. In times when children are often criticized for being self-centered and lazy, I’m happy to highlight one who is not.

So, from my youngest contributor to this blog, I bring you 10-year-old Nicole Cavanaugh, an inspirational young horse saver.

Nicole Cavanaugh's diorama for Believing In Horses

In this scene from “Believing in Horses” Sadie is going to Freedom Hill Horse Rescue for the first time. Sadie is visiting Freedom Hill to sign up as a volunteer and to show them her presentation about the horses that need to be saved. She is hoping they will help her save the horses that are going to be auctioned. This is an important moment for Sadie because this is the first time she asks for help to achieve her goal. (Nicole Cavanaugh)

Summary

The Navarros are moving to Bowie, Maryland, because Sadie’s Dad is in the military and is being reassigned for a few years. One of those years he will be in Afghanistan, which makes Sadie sad. Her reward for being so good about the situation is a horse. Sadie’s grandmother sends Sadie a horse. His name is Color Me Lucky but they call him Lucky. One day Sadie learned about 10 horses that needed to be saved because they were going to auction. Many horses that go to auction are killed for meat. Sadie decided she [Read more…]

Farewell Shanghai

Shanghai 3 Please join me for the final installment of Vic Socotra’s thoughts on one of our Congressional trips to Asia, and a farewell to China.

We wandered down the street and over a couple of blocks. We found the entrance to the subway and went down. It was gleaming and shiny and not at all what I expected. We went down and got to the platform.

The little guy on the subway could have been sixty or he could have been eighty. He could have walked with Mao on the big swing around Chiang Kai Check’s Nationalists, and on to eventual victory in 1948.

He wore a little Mao hat and his gaze was implacable. He was staring at Val’s chest, or he was staring past her chest at me in my trench coat because he was exactly that tall. It was hard to tell. But it was a penetrating gaze, neither friendly nor particularly hostile. It was an intense and unwavering look, like that of a hawk on his prey. I leaned over to Val. [Read more…]

Long Marchers…Part Two

Please join me for Part Two of my friend and author  Vic Socotra‘s series of stories about one of our Congressional trips. We have now journeyed to Shanghai.

01 February 2001Shanghai skyline

Long Marchers

by Vic Socotra

I believe in traveling light, but there was no way for it on this trip- we would be in temperate, arctic and tropical climates. The bags went out full, and got fuller with each stop. The bags even began to multiply. It could have been worse. The last time I was in Hanoi, the famous Central Jail (“Hanoi Hilton”) was being torn down, and visitors were presented with bricks as unique souvenirs. Being the junior member on that trip, I wound up carrying a bag containing a major portion of an interior wall. But that is another story.

Downstairs at the Regal International East Asia there was a lavish breakfast buffet of both Chinese and Western delicacies. Rich coffee, eggs, fried cabbage, sausage, bacon, cucumbers, steamed dumplings, hare stew. Some items sampled, most not. After their travail, the infantry is only minutes late coming down, but they miss the breakfast. We have our bags in the van and waiting for them out front. [Read more…]