One of the wonderful things I have found in my last few years in the Disney-verse is there are some AMAZING people that live in it. Yes, sadly there are some villains who like to stand around and stir the cauldron, but those villains make the heroes work harder to achieve their goals and cause you to appreciate the end of the story all the more. I personally have had the privilege of making some wonderful friends in the Disney-verse, a rather long list that I won’t bore you with, just know that I am thankful to have every single person on that list in my and my husband Drew’s life.
To me a part of showing your Disney Side sometimes means incorporating it into your daily life while leaving your set of ears at home. Recently Drew and I were invited to a Coast Guard promotion ceremony for my Disney friend Judy’s son Paul. Many moons ago one of the first Disney blog posts I wrote was for Judy and the fan site she was then connected to so when I got the invite from this Main Street Mom to not only meet her in person, but be witness to a “Warrant Officer Promotion Ceremony” I had to say “YES!”. I knew there MIGHT be something Disney related at the post event party as well as some amazing food, but I had no idea how well Paul would intertwine military and Disney in his promotion speech. Paul’s speech was touching and at times hilarious, and flowed well even if you didn’t get the Disney references. Paul was wonderful enough to give me permission to share his speech with you and I thought what better way to show Paul’s Disney Side, but on TMSM Disney Side Monday.
As you read this realize Paul has seen and helped our country through some amazing events, and the whole time kept an amazing sense of self and humor about him as shown by the large number of Disney references I counted in his speech in person on Friday (I’m not telling how many I counted!!). At times they were subtle and times others they were so obvious Drew and I were sitting in the back of the room at the Coast Guard Museum in Virginia Beach giggling like school girls. Once again thank you for letting me share this Paul, and congratulations on your promotion! And thank you Roszkowski family for including Drew and I in this very important event in your lives!
CWO ROSZKOWSKI Commissioning remarks:
According to Brandon Brewer when presenting something you should be brief, be brilliant and be gone. I can’t guarantee that I will do that today but I will try.
Thank you to each of you for being here today. You have all played a role, some minor and some major, in making this day possible and for that I am truly grateful.
I want to thank my wife for putting up with all of the travel, missed holidays and anniversaries. No matter how far I roam there’s still no place like home.
I would like to thank my parents for coming out this weekend. You have always been there for me and I can never thank you enough. Having you here makes today even better.
I would also like to thank the rest of my family for coming out for this occasion; you don’t know what it means to me to have you here.
There are some people that could not be here today that I need to take a moment to recognize.
First of all is my little Brother Brian and his wife Maggie. The Air Force would not give him leave to be here today but I know he wishes he could be here.
Public Affairs is a small community in the Coast Guard, the community of Chief Public Affairs Specialist is even smaller and the community of Chief Warrant Officers is the smallest.
As they say, when one door closes another opens. A little more than an hour ago, one of my mentors retired after 30 years of service in the Coast Guard. While I could not be there for his retirement ceremony I would like to thank Adam Wine for everything he has done for me in the 15 years I have known him. He started out as my first Chief as a newly graduated PA3 and grew to be a great friend. Now as he departs I thank him for leaving and making way for me. I and my family would like to wish him and Sue the best of luck in their retirement.
As the tradition says you don’t buy your first set of rank devices, you use an experienced set to guide you until you have earned some experience yourself. I would like to thank Lt. Amy Midgett and CWO Randy Midgett, retired for passing on their experienced shoulder boards to me. I will do my best to wield their experience until I earn some myself. The Midgett’s could not be here today as they are attending Adam’s retirement ceremony.
In the words of Roy Batty, “I’ve seen things you people wouldn’t believe…” Well some of you may because you were either there with me or you have been here before. As a member of the PIAT* I’ve done things and been to places that, had you asked me as a young non-rate, I would have never dreamed I’d be doing or visiting.
I have cherished every one of those moments. From my first experience with the team, flying over the source of the Deepwater Horizon Oil Spill and looking down on dozens of ships trying desperately to stop the flow of oil as around them more ships and aircraft tried to disperse, skim or burn what had reached the surface.
I will always remember the devastation of Hurricane Sandy in New York and New Jersey and the thanks we received every time someone saw us in uniform and the people of Paulsboro, New Jersey, Vicksburg, Mississippi, the motor vessel Jireh and the summer I spent in Puerto Rico and the ruined harbor and lives in Crescent City, California.
I can tell you what it’s like to be a member of this team but until you truly experience the reception you get when you walk into a command post and see look of relief from the Incident Commander because the Public Affairs pros from Dover have arrived you will never understand.
I have reached another goal in my career. I wouldn’t be here today without the support of all of those who have taken the time to mentor me and those who have worked with me and for me over the years. You have taught me so much as I have come up through the ranks.
I would like to take this moment to share some of those nuggets of wisdom I have picked up or stepped in along the way. Keep things in perspective, Sometimes you have to change your perspective, To be a leader you need followers, Make the best of a bad situation, Get to know your people, Inspire your people and remember to keep calm and call the PIAT.
Keep things in perspective. There are times life is a lot like the Jungle Cruise, going around in circles, one corny joke after another and no matter how much you turn the wheel the boat will only go where the track lets it. The natives are always restless and no matter how much hype there is the backside of water looks a lot like the front side. And as you pass through the jungle of life don’t forget to stop and admire some of my favorite plants…there’s one there and another over there.
Sometimes you have to change your perspective. Anything is peaceful from one thousand, three hundred and fifty-three feet up or from 36,000 feet up for that matter. Having spent a lot of time on aircraft, as long as the air conditioning is working and there is no turbulence you are good to go. Remember to keep your hands and arms inside the aircraft at all times; hold on to your hats and glasses, do not pull down on the safety bar, Por favor mantengase alejado de las puertas and take time to enjoy the view.
To be a leader you need followers. You need a luck dragon to properly conduct any quest. To expand that thought you should always have a good traveling companion, be it good colleagues, a friend or a stuffed rabbit, monkey or piggy. There are always better stories to tell when more than one person is there to experience it and this way you are never stuck drinking alone.
Make the best of a bad situation. Sometimes not everything is shiny. No plan, no matter how great it is, ever survives first contact with the enemy. Be prepared for contingencies and adjustments on the fly. This can include but is not limited to state representatives who ignore or try to change the plan at the 11-th hour, three major storms hitting the grounded boat you are trying to free, migrants trying to swim to shore in the middle of your response, finding that your glass of beer is full of shards of glass, fishermen who are trying to stir up trouble with the local media and well, to paraphrase what I said earlier, I’ve got a whale of a tale. At the end of the day it doesn’t matter how good your message is, without action you are only making platitudes.
Inspire your people. As a leader I have learned that it often takes just one little spark of inspiration to create some of our best future leaders and changes. Inspire those around you, encourage them to try new things and not accept the way things have always been done. If they can dream it, they can do it. Let them test the limits and break through. Go the distance with them. Tomorrow is just a dream away.
Get to know your people. As you work with people you learn we are all a little bit like Dumbo, each with a unique thing about us that helps us to soar. A good leader notices these individual characteristics and provides the magical feather that makes us believe we can fly. It is the great leader that gets us to understand that we never needed the feather in the first place.
If you can keep your head when all about you are losing theirs, obviously you haven’t checked with your answering service. Keep calm and call the PIAT.
So take it or leave it: Keep things in perspective, Sometimes you have to change your perspective, To be a leader you need followers, Make the best of a bad situation, Get to know your people, Inspire your people and remember to keep calm and call the PIAT.
Life moves pretty fast, if you don’t stop and look around once in a while, you could miss it.
As I look back on the last 15 years I realize that this has been one of the wildest rides in the wilderness and I have loved every minute of it.
CWO Paul Roszkowski, United States Coast Guard
*PIAT-Public Information Assist Team