Day 57-SIP-Volunteer to Serve

There is no question but that the COVID-19 is still very active in my county. Today’s report added 77 new cases of confirmed Corona virus. That brings our total to 3,973 cases. I’d like to see it coming down, but there are a lot of other things I would like too, but never seem to get my wish.

Every year at this time I would like to see so many people step up and want to be leaders in our local Lions Club that we have to turn people away. That hasn’t happened yet. Why is it that whenever a person is asked to take on a leadership role he/she shirks the responsibility? Only a very few special people want to lead. The remainder are satisfied being led.

My experience with volunteer groups spreads over a span of fifty years and many organizations, and it volunteering to lead hasn’t changed. Even worse yet, I have still not learned the secret of recruiting successfully. One thing I did learn however, is that people want to belong to an active moving club with a positive attitude. Nobody wants to join a negative, sorry-assed, dead club, and I don’t blame them. Why would I join a club whose reputation is for doing nothing. When I join something it is because i believe in the activities and function of the club. When I joined a bicycle club I joined because I wanted to meet bike riders who I could ride with. Riding alone most of the time is boring. I joined the Boy Scouts of America because i wanted my son to have a decent Troop to join into. I joined the Garden club because I was tired of killing plants and wanted to learn how to make flowers grow. I first joined the Lions because I needed something to deflect the grief I suffered from my wife’s death. Then, after I joined and learned what a great organization they are I dedicated my life to helping our club to serve the community.

As President of the Frankfort Lions I conducted a survey to determine how to make the club serve more. One of the things I learned was that most people join because they want to ‘give back.’ They feel so blessed with their own life that they want to extend that same gift to others within their community. My philosophy has always been that serving the club as an officer is serving the community, and qualifies as ‘giving back.’

An organization that is over a hundred years old and still growing has to have something going for it. Lions are pushing 1.5 millions members in over 200 countries, and in 45,000 clubs. We all follow the same goals, the same ethics, the same constitution and by-laws. Only our languages, customs, and ethnicities differ.

When I first joined I learned that Lions were challenged by Helen Keller to become the Knights of the Blind. At the time I didn’t know a single blind person and thought that perhaps the need for helping the blind has diminished since 1925 when she made the challenge. I was wrong. The number of people who are blind is growing. As the population ages more and more of us is affected by age related macular degeneration. The longer one lives the better his chances of losing vision becomes.

A detailed macro shot of a blue woman human eye.
Lions Of Illinois Foundation Mobile Hearing and Vision Screening Vans

By a process of evolution I have become involved in helping the blind. First by manning our specially equipped mobile vision screening van. We schedule a date for the van and invite the public to come and get thier eyes screened for diseases like diabetic retinopathy, macular degeneration and more. More recently, I helped initiate a children’s vision screening program within our village. Lions purchased a special camera to measure the eye. The camera compares measurements to what is normal. If a measurement is out of the normal range it alerts us to send that kid to get his eyes examined by a professional. So far, we have screened two thousand kids and we’ve alerted two hundred. Many of those 200 kids now wear glasses to make their vision better.

Lions learned that pre-school aged kids have problems that can be corrected before a kid starts kindergarten. Yet, most school districts will not require testing until a kid enters first grade. Lions believe that if a pre-schooler is screened and found to have a problem that his eyes can be corrected by the time he enters school. All kids should have the same advantage for an education. If one of them has a problem seeing the materials he is at a disadvantage.

Frankfort Lions Conduct a Vision Screening at Movie on the Green Where They Also Distribute Free Pop Corn

Since COVID-19 we have put our screening programs on hold, and we hope there is some way to get them rolling again soon. Stay tuned I’m working on it.

Day 32-Quarantine-Science and Common Sense

I watched with great interest as Dr. Birx explained the process she and her team were using to analyze the corona virus. My mind flashed back to one of my trips to Singapore. I never went there for pleasure it was always a two week minimum troubleshooting and training trip. This particular time we were having trouble maintaining our production output with our most popular product we fondly referred to as the PLT1M. At home, we could maintain a production rate of over 98%, in Singapore they had dropped into the eighties. The molds were the same in both places but their’s was older than ours. I suspected the tool needed maintenance. I was not disappointed when I got there. The production team was being flogged by Corp to keep the numbers up. It was tantamount to running a car on bald tires on a cross country trip and stopping only long enough to pump up the flat with air before proceeding. They knew they needed new tires, but didn’t or couldn’t stop to find, buy and install new tires. Needless to say, these stoppages were killing their production.

Our production manager was in a quandary. He knew what was required, but didn’t know how to make it happen. His allegiance and pay check were dependent upon his making product as promised to Corp. I spent the better part of three days talking to the maintenance crew, production foreman, set up men, asking what their biggest problems were. When the mold was downed for maintenance, I was there to help the toolmaker analyze the problem and watched him repair. While I was doing that, the general manager visited the bench at least every twenty minutes to determine how fast the mold could be put back into service. President Trumps COVID-19 task force is faced with a similar situation, i.e. too many questions and not enough answers. The pressure comes from the public in the form of reporters asking dumb questions about when will? Problems of this magnitude need careful analysis. then, each problem needs to be prioritized for urgency and magnitude. Dr. Birx has reported each time with the most emergent problem. Behind the scenes others are working on more analysis, and solutions. She delegates everything she can, and reports progress on the most important issues.

In my case the problem I came to solve required some serious toolmaking capacity. I learned from the staff all the projects the tool makers were working on, and listed them. What phase were these projects in, and why were they needed? As I experienced in our home toolroom the number of projects were endless, but at home if an emergency popped  up we were trained to respond to the needs of production. Sadly, molds to make new products always lost out to the current money makers. Our staff in Singapore didn’t have new products to work on so I had to dig deeper. In their case whenever a mold needed repair they deferred making spare parts. My job became one of determining how they could use available resources to solve their problems. They were using the bulk of their capacity fixing the flats.

In the middle of my visit I came down with some sort of flu that caused me terrible discomfort. I locked myself in the conference room and began to analyze Singapore’s toolroom capacity. Thank God for spread sheet programs. Without same, I would still be there trying to do the job. By the end of my flu, I was able to show them how to use their available capacity, and how to prioritize projects to get their production up. At the same time, when I came home I initiated projects to make new tooling to replace the tired tooling Singapore was using. At that same point in history I was on a task force of Chief Engineers tasked with implementing a new concept to utilize all of the toolroom capacity of our combined divisions to run projects to completion quicker. The team leader was looking for projects to test his new concept. I happened to have a few for him to take on, and he did.  That is not unlike the COVID-19 Task Force finding and sourcing both government and private sector laboratories, and equipment to use idle capacity to its fullest.

A couple of years later I sat in a meeting with our CEO and overheard him ask one of the division managers how we got to the point of production over capacity in Singapore. It was then, that I knew my trip was productive.

President Trump’s effectiveness is derived from his experience working in the private sector at real jobs like building skyscrapers. He learned from hands on experience to troubleshoot, look for the root cause of the problems and to prioritize. The members of his task force all use the same methods, Trump’s leaderships evident in his ability to follow up on all aspects of the most important issues. His daily involvement conveys the seriousness of the solution to the team. He is also a great cheerleader, his positivity and optimism are contagious

I am confident that we will get through this corona virus problem. What we need to brace for is the political battle that looms on the horizon. All of the political blaming will be in the category of Monday Morning Quarterbacking. The party out of power will be placing blame on Trump. They will come up with, what if he had done this, or he screwed up on that. But the problem will be over and it will be mute questioning and blaming because we don’t get a repeat. If we do get a repeat our health care system and testing is improved and will be better able to function as a result of COVID-19.

Doubledy Talk

“A free market was never meant to be a free license to take whatever you can get, however you can get it,” Obama said to Wall Street. Evidently, taking big money is the sole responsibility of a socialist government. Obama didn’t flinch when he took nearly a million dollars in campaign contributions from Goldman Sachs employees.

POTUS was pushing his new proposal to reform Wall Street. He commented that the reform is much needed to prevent another financial melt-down. I wonder if this bill, just like the one for reconciling differences in budgets, will not be contorted into some other useful “ends justifies the means”  scenario at a later date.

Obama placed all responsibility for the housing crisis on the greed of Wall Street, and their drive to make money. I didn’t expect him to take responsibility for the government’s pressure on Wall Street to give everyone in the country a free house as the real reason for the bubble.

Leadership carries responsibility. That means you take the gas for things that go wrong, unless of course you are leading the greatest country in the world. If you are POTUS you make others take the gas, and never admit to doing anything wrong yourself. You do however, point fingers at the previous administration.


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