The Oregon Rural Electric Cooperative Association wrapped up the year by celebrating its 75th anniversary at the annual meeting in Salem in November. The theme was “Our Past, Our Future, Our People.” We managed to hit all those topics with a variety of excellent speakers highlighting not only the legacy of the Columbia River hydro program, but what the electrical grid of the future may look like.
There were a couple of other takeaways for me that I will attempt to incorporate this new year.
The first was an inspiring talk from Dave Carey, a former Vietnam POW who lived in the “Hanoi Hilton” for nearly six years, occasionally in a cell with another naval aviator named John McCain.
Carey says the question that always arises is, “How can someone endure such a hellish existence for so long?”
His answer seems simple in practice.
“We did what we needed to do,” he says. “And we did it, day after day after day.”
While we will not likely experience the horrors of a North Vietnamese prison camp, may we all take Carey’s optimism and clarity of purpose into our lives in 2018—day after day after day.
Dan Chase—another speaker at our director forum— discussed Abraham Lincoln’s leadership style. Lincoln’s accomplishments are well-known, but less known are the traits that helped make him so iconic. Chase’s thesis is that Lincoln cared so deeply about institutions—such as preservation of the Union—that he was able to subsume his own ego and ambition to get the desired result.
While most of us will not preside over a civil war, we all are part of cherished institutions in some form. May we all adopt a little more of Lincoln as we approach work and family in 2018—and may we do it day after day after day.