2019-2020 National Chief of Staff and Extension Ambassador
Will you be the one to be nominated? Will you be the one member to win National Award No. 1?
I found myself watching an episode of 9-1-1. They begin the episode in the 9-1-1 service call center where we view and hear the emergency response operator say, “9-1-1, what’s your emergency?” In this episode, a tidal wave hit the city. This resulted in many injuries, deaths and displaced persons. The call center was overloaded with frantic calls for help and people asking where their loved ones were. Sounds of panic and hopelessness filled the room.
On one of the calls, the center response operator was trying to lift the spirits of a man who was in the water with a boat over his head and the water was rising. He was running out of air. He knew it and the response operator knew it. They talked about pleasant matters so he would be filled with hope. Silence came over the line. The man in the water was no longer responding. He went completely underwater. The call center response operator was devastated because neither fire fighters, police nor first responders were able to assist this man so his life would be spared. They were swamped and could not reach everyone who needed to be rescued.
The lead in the 9-1-1 service call center pulled the response operator who was trying to keep up the spirits of the drowning man and selected her to do triage. This operator looked overwhelmed, as she could not see how she was going to be able to go out into the city and take care of everyone needing help. Her lead said, “No, not those out there in the disaster. I want you to triage the service call center operators here. They need assistance, they need to be encouraged, they need to take a break, they need to believe” they could and would do the best job they could for the callers they had to deal with.
The lead saw many weary operators due to the number of calls being received. She saw the look of helplessness in the body language of those on the phone. She knew it had been hours since some of the operators ate; most were weary, not knowing the whereabouts of their own families.
This devastated operator, tasked with triaging her coworkers, at first seemed overwhelmed. Then, she kicked into high gear and began using all her knowledge and experience to triage. The call center lead had faith and trust in the strength of this operator. She trusted her judgement and sound decisions; she knew this operator could succeed under pressure.
One would normally find this process (triage) in a hospital setting to determine the priority of patients’ treatments based on the severity of their condition. This prioritizing of patient treatment efficiently rationalizes who most needs care when resources are insufficient for all to be treated immediately. This operator could not – and would not – let her co-workers or her lead down. She was familiar with the process of sorting through the mental and physical needs of her co-workers. This triage process was needed in the call center so her fellow workers would survive.
The leadership of this service call center was well-trained. She was mentored by the best, and in turn, her everyday actions, advice, training of others, and caring made her a competent mentor to her operator. She trusted her decisions and was confident in tasking this operator to see to that her fellow workers were of sound mind to continue giving the best care, the best instructions in a caring matter that kept those on the other end of line hopeful.
As an Auxiliary, District or Department Officer, are you that service call center lead? As a member, are you that operator? As a member who has been mentored, have you attended trainings that enable you to be a better member, a stronger member who would be able to “triage” in your Auxiliary? Has your Chief of Staff inspired you to be a supportive, rather than a critical, member? Has your Chief of Staff instilled in you the need to abide by the Bylaws, ritual and traditions that play a part in keeping an Auxiliary, District or Department healthy to better serve veterans, service members, their families and communities?
If you have been inspired to be positive, to be a doer, you may be the one that the National Extension Award Number 1 is seeking. (Required entry form is available at www.vfwauxiliary.org/resources). The National Award Number 1 reads:
A Citation and $50.00 to one member in the nation who assisted in revitalizing/rejuvenating a failing or weak Auxiliary and utilized the Building on the VFW Auxiliary Foundation in their efforts. Any member on any level of the organization can be nominated by the revitalized/rejuvenated Auxiliary. Nominated member must be different than the nominated mentor for the Mentoring for Leadership Program. Auxiliary entries are due to the Department Chief of Staff by March 31, 2020. One entry from each Department Chief of Staff is due to the National Chief of Staff by April 30, 2020 for judging. Winning entry will be announced at the 2020 National Convention in Reno, Nevada. Criteria and entry form required.
What does revitalize and rejuvenate mean?
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines revitalize as follows: “To give new life, energy, activity, or success to something.”
The Collins English Dictionary defines revitalize as follows: “Having the ability or tendency to restore strength.”
Putting it all together, to revitalize is to restore something to life or give it new life. Revitalizing adds newness and strength. Since vital things are alive, strong and flourishing, when something gets revitalized, it is returned to health or life. A good night’s sleep will revitalize you. So will eating a healthy meal. Mentoring, or training using the Building on VFW Auxiliary Foundation, knowledge of our Bylaws and Ritual are the tools to meet that end and will bring all of the above to an Auxiliary, District or Department.
According to the Merriam-Webster Dictionary, to rejuvenate an organization is “To improve the way it works or looks and make it seem fresh. It makes an organization more effective by introducing new methods, ideas or people. So understanding our National Programs and collaborating with members, comrades and community members to see them to fruition improves how we work our while serving veterans.
Pay attention to the due date for this award. Auxiliary entries are due to your Department Chief of Staff by March 31, 2020. One entry from each Department Chief of Staff is due to me, the National Chief of Staff, by April 30, 2020 for judging. The winning entry will be announced at the 2020 National Convention in Reno, Nevada. Criteria and entry form (required) available at www.vfwauxiliary.org/resources.
Any member on any level of the organization can be nominated by the revitalized/rejuvenated Auxiliary. Nominated member must be different than the nominated mentor for the Mentoring for Leadership Program.
I wish you all a blessed holiday season!