Clyde's Corner on Volunteerism

A Walk to Remember

Clydes Corner A Walk to Remember Sept 14 2012From time to time, I allow myself the luxury of taking a long walk on the beach. The south shore of Long Island has some of the finest beaches anywhere. At this time of year, the ocean waters are remarkably warm and the waves invitingly serene. Yesterday was one of those days for me. I needed a long walk with the water lapping at my feet as I walked and the soft sand massaging my weary feet. Just two days ago was the 11th anniversary of the terrorist attacks on the United States of America. With little political fanfare (in fact no politicians spoke this year in NYC), the names were once again read aloud at ground zero.

Where once the majestic towers soared over lower Manhattan, the Hudson River and the New York Harbor, now two twin reflecting pools mark the spot where so many perished. The once bustling World Trade Center location is now awash in mourners, tourists, and monuments. The Freedom Tower filling a giant void in the NY skyline now can be seen from miles away. In fact, while heading home from my reflective walk at the ocean’s edge and driving over one of two tall bridges across the waterways and inlets, I could see the Freedom Tower to the west some 40 miles away. I used to be able to see the Twin Towers from these bridges, and on really clear days you could actually see the shadow that the south tower cast on the north tower.

I used to work in many of those buildings that were destroyed 11 years ago. Actually, I was doing consulting for a large commercial bank that September month. My office was in 4 WTC and the view out my window was of the beautiful plaza between the buildings and the fountain. The towers rose up to the sky to my left and straight ahead. Concerts were held in the plaza at lunch and in the evenings during the warm spring and summer months. There was a vibrancy about the area. An unmistakable energy existed that transformed the area to something more than just a place to work.

On September 11th I was working from home; a rare, quite uncommon occurrence. I was not there the day the towers fell and friends and neighbors died. I was safe at home some 40 miles away. Many of the companies I had worked for used the plans that I helped to develop. Many of the people that I had trained/mentored were tested. Business continuity took center stage for the months and years that followed. September 11th unfortunately was a defining moment for our business. Many recognized that crossing your fingers and hoping for the best was not a viable recovery plan as I noted last week.

Every time I teach a class for DRI International, we talk about September 11th and the impact it had on us personally and professionally. It is usually a somber and sobering discussion. Invariably one of us has been impacted more than the others and BCP in their case is personal. I always comment that outages and disasters are often personal before they are professional. I really believe that to be true. So as we are in the middle of National Preparedness Month and the September 11th anniversary has just passed, think contingency, think life safety, think disaster recovery, think about a home emergency preparedness plan, think about those who may have been impacted 11 years ago and honor them by embracing resiliency and life safety planning.

On Saturday, I had the opportunity to walk in the USO September 11th Remembrance Walk down the Hudson River Walk with hundreds (maybe thousands) of supporters. We walked under threatening skies and tornados touched down in Brooklyn while we walked. We got a little wet, had a few laughs with newly made friends, ate some donuts and walked amongst heroes. The branches of the military were represented on the walk and the Navy had dozens attend in bright yellow T-shirts. We walked to the edge of the new Freedom Tower and then turned and headed north. With the tower always in our sight we walked to honor those lost 11 years ago.

Clyde’s corner will return next week … and maybe, just maybe, I will actually speak about Volunteerism at our Conference in Philadelphia and all that great city has to offer us while we are there.

Have a great week.
Clyde
cberger@driif.org
Director of Volunteerism and Vice President

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