Rohrer: Getting our community back

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By Jim Rohrer

If you’ve never played on an athletic team, you may have missed one of the great joys of life. It’s exhilarating to have teammates with whom you bond and with whom you share the goal of being part of a winning effort.

One of my greatest joys was learning that I had made my highly competitive high school baseball team. I was so excited that I broke down in tears as I reported the good news to my dad.

That pales in comparison with another team of which I was a part. While serving in the U.S. Air Force, I was sent to a combat zone. Thousands of American military members were deployed to shut down a communist-inspired uprising and attempted coup of a friendly government.

I did nothing heroic. I merely attended to my job as a food service officer by feeding the troops who were occupying a government air base in this foreign country. Each night the rebels would attempt to overtake this base, which the American military had set up as its base of operations.

Between the rebels and all of us on the base were members of the 82nd Airborne Division, who protected us as they drove the rebels back nightly. As we heard the gunfire each night, it was terrifying.

We knew the rebels intended to kill us, and sleep wouldn’t come until the gunfire stopped. On many nights, wounded Americans were brought to the field hospital on the base. It was a life-and-death situation.

During the day it was quiet, and we took hot meals out to the 82nd guys who only had c-rations to eat. These guys were in a different military branch, and they were probably from many different places.

Some undoubtedly had backgrounds much different than mine. We had one thing in common … we were Americans in a foreign combat zone, there to support the interests of our country. Whatever differences we had were totally unimportant. All that mattered was the commonality of our mission. We were part of “Team U.S.A.”

So, here are my suggestions to bring back our sense of community:

• Treat everyone as teammates. We are all Americans with much more in common than what separates us.

• Make time for what’s important … other teammates. Technology is great especially when it allows us to network with friends and family, but having a drink with a friend or helping that friend with something trumps a Facebook “like.” Earth’s great treasure lies in the human personality.

• Live locally — being part of our community. Join an organization that gives back like Rotary or Kiwanis. Volunteer at EChO, or the Seniors’ Resource Center.

• Raise our kids to be kind, thoughtful and respectful. Teach them that service to humanity is the best work of life.

• Live a bottom’s up life. The problems of our country aren’t born in Washington. We are the problem. If you don’t believe it, read Facebook comments that insult others and spread hate and divisiveness. Make a promise to yourself not to be part of this sickness.

Evergreen is such a wonderful place. It most likely does better than most places, but there’s always room for improvement. We have many roles in our lives. Mine include husband, dad, Christian, American, neighbor, friend, Rotarian, ardent Buckeye supporter and political party member.

I want to do better in each of these roles, but I also want to keep them in the proper order to ensure appropriateness in my life. To all readers, thanks for being a teammate.

Jim Rohrer of Evergreen is a business consultant and author. To learn more about Jim go to www.theloyaltypartners.com.