Good morning wonderful person! :)
It's one of the best times of year!!.. it's still a bit chilly in the morning which requires wusses like me to wear a hoodie, but come afternoon, it's warm and you're loose. The birds are tweeting as the sun creeps up. It does make for a total bitch driving in the mornings AND on the way home....hahahah! that sun is in the sweet spot of your face making us west-siders eat that sun to and from work... but damn... is it ever worth it. :)
As I was leaving a GUD job this past Wednesday I was compelled to turn around and head up and over the hill to capture this moment. :)
It was far more dramatic in person. :) The crazy thing for me... just to the lower right of this picture... this spot of the desert is where me and my friends had our high school graduation party... which as of today... is a bombshell from our house. Every time I pass this spot I'm brought back. Cool to be here as a grown ass man reliving a moment I would have never thought of at the time. It was pretty cool and was excited to share this as the picture of the week. :)
This past weekend was the close of a very momentous time in my life. For the past few weeks I've been sharing pictures of the build of a very special water feature, The Marc of a Hero's American Wall Fountain...
what an honor..
Chas and I have been working with America's Mighty Warriors for 2 years now. The foundation has a special spot in our heart and is part of our business's foundation. As we succeed we pass along that success to AMW too. Prior to this weekend, Chas and I have donated north of $6,000 and have raised an additional $5-600 through other real estate agents and clients. After going to Marc's birthday bash last year Chas and I challenged ourselves to do something different. So with a year in the making and about a 1.5 months prior to Marc's next birthday, we pulled off an impossible feat.. but damn was it ever worth it.
To deliver this and set up was incredibly special... as soon as I got there I received a huge and grateful hug from Miss Debbie... or Momma Lee as Marc's Seal brothers call her. Regardless of what the fountain would go for... knowing the impact our family's gift to the foundation had on her was priceless.
I'm not sure if it was just in the position of the fountain or not... but of all the live auction items, the fountain was the last in the line. From what Chas and our friends were telling me, is that it was one of the most anticipated items of the night. I felt super special as more than a handful of people wanted a picture of me with them in front of the fountain... was very cool :)
Crazier yet!! and DAMN I WISH I HAD A PICTURE! but my very first paid for water feature clients drove from Ahwatukee to Scottsdale (an easy 45min+ drive) just to see the fountain in person! ... as I'm collecting my stresses/excitement before the event started I saw them outside... there they are! WOW! I felt famous! hahah... here I they were legitimatgely my 3rd or 4th ever completed fountain and here was auctioning off my 77th built one ever and there they were coming to see it in person.. <3.. damn. They made a donation to AMW gave me a hug, talked to me an another Navy Seal whom served with Marc then left... it was so amazing! :) I likely would have had time to get a pic, but the live auction had just started and we needed to part ways :) patted on the back like a child running out to play ball.. .damn.. hits the feels!
What was very cool was that Chas recorded the entire fountain auction moment. Although it was one of the more anticipated items of the night, it was one of the fastest sold items as well. :) <3
Here's the video: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=An0rEqMsxcU&feature=youtu.be
In short, after I had a few moments to talk about the fountain, the auction started with everyone willing to give $100 to the item. In quick time it made it to the mid $2,000's... as we neared $3,000 is slowed down. It was soon noticed that Debbie herself was biding on the fountain. Those whom realized this didn't want to compete against her and said "give it to her". :)
It ended at $3,000, but the auctioneer asked if others would be willing to kick in $100 each to give more.. so including ourselves, another 7-10 people kicked in as well. :) <3 <3
This past summer we helped some friends buy a new home... when we closed on their home Chas and I made a donation to AMW in their name. Miss Debbie wrote a card to them letting them know we did so and had a moment to tell them about AMW. My buddy Brandon was so moved by this he also donated afterwards.
So this year when he heard what we were doing with the fountain, he also asked if he could participate as well. He wanted to take his ability to work with his hands and build something too. Debbie wonderfully said yes, he was on it. Just before we arrived at the gun club, I picked him up and his incredible contribution. :) ...
a flame torched, 41" x 80.5", wooden American Flag - Gun Locker!
Given the family man and primary earner, he was working his tail off over the last month to pull this off.... but ended up pulling in an all nighter completing the flag that Saturday morning at 6:30AM... man was it worth it!!
This was the largest of all the silent auction items.... and we placed it right at the front door! The silent auction ended about 25 minutes after Jocko's speech... Brandon's phone was dying so I kept a pulse on it's amount throughout the night... just before the live auction started it was at $310... his goal, his hope was somewhere near $500.. .so he was jacked!
About 10 minutes before it closed, I checked and it was $1,100... as I looked everywhere for him I found him out back being social.... as soon as I showed him it was at $1,300... as he was collecting his enthusiasm, I refreshed again... it was at $1,500!! he about shit himself!
I kept refreshing for the final minute... the auction ended.
He was short of shitting all over the place... hahah! it was such an awesome spot to be in to watch the ticker increase and watch his excitement... and knowing all of this was sparked by a little donation Chas and I did a couple 4-6 months prior. Damn what a moment :)
It felt so good that in one night us and a buddy were able to build something with our hands and help earn the organization $5,800 in one night. :) that was almost 2 years of donating in the names of our clients all at once. <3 damn! :)
Before the event we all had the opportunity to meet the man of the hour, Jocko Willink. A brilliant man whom could not look anymore like your stereotypical Navy Seal... he's a man whom joined the Navy as a Seal, went to college so he could be come a Naval Officer - as a Seal, got his degree in English because he figured it to be the best form of communication training so he could be a better leader... ultimately became a commanding officer of Task Unit Bruiser, an elite Navy Seal Team, whom battled in the worst of the worst parts of the Iraqi war in Ramadi. He was Marc Lee's and well known Chris Kyle, American Sniper, commanding officer. And by the grace of whatever you may call holy.. he survived.
(side note... Marc's character in the movie American Sniper is nothing compared to how Marc was in any regard. Both Debbie and Jocko expressed this)
Now retired from the Navy, today he owns Echelon Front where coaches businesses to win and lead. He teaches leadership principles learned and died for on the battlefield and relates them to life and business.
When you're in the presence of this man you have such a shit load of incredible respect.. Not because he's a well know Navy Seal, he's brilliant, articulate, commands attention when he speaks casually, speaks with intentionally, and is humble... watching him in the food line was memorable.. people were encouraging him to cut in front, please go a head.. he graciously said no and stayed in the line where his place was.
Here I got to tell him about listening to his book where he eulogized about Marc's passing as I was collecting the mirror. It was cool :)
My buddy whom built the American Flag gun locker, Brandon. :)
Just after the live auction was completed it was Jocko's opportunity to address the room.. If I find a video of his speech I will share it.
He talked with precision and directness.. He talked casually, then sternly as a drill sergeant might. He painted a picture of the front man in Vietnam... the burden those men faced being likely to die first as they were in the front line.. how that role could only be held for a couple of hours before another soldier would take that burden so it wasn't on one man's shoulders...
followed by a picture of a graveyard corridor (their name for it slips my mind) of American vehicles scattered throughout.. a place where the IED's took the lives of countless soldiers... the knowing of loss as you passed each one, knowing that at least one American solider was at least injured or killed in that... and the very real likelihood it could have been 4 or 5 in each vehicle that didn't come home.
continued by the description of the turret machine gunner whom sits atop the Humvee.. fully exposed to the world and likely the first one to be killed...
There were moments of pain and anger as Jock spoke. no one said a word. nothing. he paced back and forth periodically pausing looking down as he painted a real picture of war... one that only he and his brothers could understand...
but damn could you feel it!!
He closed with Marc.... the turret gunner... in the lead point Humvee..
as they past through that dreadful and deadly corridor time and time again... his selfless action of always being there, in front... over and over... never saying I need help! never asking someone else take over!.. day after day! week after week!. There's Marc with his comedic humor and incredible smile running point.
THAT IS WHO MARC WAS! he would painfully deliver.
A poster child of a Navy Seal, a real life embodiment of a total bad ass, but containing his tears so he can effectively communicate. Being so close I could see the chin quiver, the inflection of his voice deviate from compassion, to rage and torture of war, to the love of a lost brother.
my eyes fill as I recall this moment.
It was an incredible and moving experience that I will never forget. He thanked Momma Lee for her love to Marc, felt her loss, and loved her back for being so wonderful. I respected the man before, but now, more than ever.
As the event came to an end Jocko would wonder, greet, and would talk with whomever wanted.. He may have been one of the last to go that night. It was so nice to see from a distance the impact this person had.
Man that was rough recounting! but damn! :)
Tristan was a total pain in the ass up until Jocko spoke.. hahaha.. he fell in love with a handmade boat with the silent auction... he's been working with me on my GUD jobs and I pay he and Avin $8.00 hr for their efforts. Tristan cashed in all of his money to put in a bid and within minutes was out bid. huge tears, hot head, sweating torn up not winning it... I didn't tell him until the very end that i out bid the next person.. he was shitting all over the place with excitement like our buddy Brandon was for his flag. It was awesome to see.. :)
It was an incredible experience and one that I will not forget. I'm grateful to the world for having met the people I have through this journey.. Although real estate can stress me out a lot, I would never have had these opportunities had I not taken a risk to do something so out of my comfort zone... I'd do it all over again. :)
Sitting back watching the love in this room... the life changing event the day/night had on my buddy Brandon.. the realization of one's worth and what's possible... amazing... :)
the respect my boys had, the donations have on our service people.. incredible.. :)
watching a buddy of mine, Travis...
a war torn combat vet... finding his way in life... I introduced him to Debbie 2 years ago after meeting her... Watching Travis run around with his head cut off in the event making sure everything was where it needed to be, the joy and glowing happiness radiating from him at every turn as he was the lead volunteer.. watching the way Debbie talked to him and lets him lead, contribute, participate, and take ownership... the giving back... damn... it was like watching a couple grow old together that only really met because you matched them up in life.. that kind of feeling...
it was and will be forever one of my most favorite parts of the night.
damn <3 it was awesome.
Thank you so much for allowing me to share this incredible event. I hope to have recounted it accurately so you could feel what we felt. I know I'm still emotionally exhausted from the build, participating and watching everything unfold... but it was so worth it.
Chas and I are always here if you need anything.
Have a grateful Friday :)