The legacy you leave is the life you lead
By Senior Master Sgt. Chris Underwood, 129th Rescue Wing Human Resources Advisor
/ Published March 02, 2010
MOFFETT FEDERAL AIRFIELD, Calif. -- We are continuing to 'Push the Flywheel' by taking a look at legacy in March. When I think of legacy, someone like Pat Summit, head coach of the Tennessee Lady Vols basketball team comes to mind. She is the all-time winningest coach in NCAA basketball history (men or women in any division) and one of only three collegiate coaches with 1,000 victories.
The thread that ties Pat Summit together with other people who left legacies are their level of contribution to their respective fields of work or to other aspects of society, and the recognition they received for reaching those feats. They left it better than they found it. It is important to know that they earned the recognition that they received and left a legacy for us to follow.
Senior Master Sgt. Jennifer M. Reecy, the human resource advisor with the 114th Fighter Wing, South Dakota Air National Guard, describes legacy as "my distinctive contribution -- it reflects my commitment to leaving the Air National Guard better each day because I am here. I will leave a tradition of honor and a legacy of valor! Today, I will 'earn this'."
March is also National Women's History Month and there have been many women in our country who have made significant contributions to society, or legacies, that we all will continue to proudly follow such as:
· In 1853, Antoinette Blackwell becomes the first American woman to be ordained a minister in a recognized denomination (Congregational).
· In 1872, Victoria Claflin Woodhull becomes the first woman presidential candidate in the United States.
· In 1873, Ellen Swallow Richards, the first woman to be admitted to the Massachusetts Institute of Technology, earns her B.S. degree. She becomes the first female professional chemist in the U.S.
· In 1885 Sarah E. Goode becomes the first African-American woman to receive a patent, for a bed that folded up into a cabinet. Goode, who owned a furniture store in Chicago, intended the bed to be used in apartments.
· In 1916 Jeannette Rankin, of Montana, is the first woman to be elected to the U.S. House of Representatives.
· In 1922 Rebecca Felton, of Georgia, is appointed to the U.S. Senate to fill a temporary vacancy. The first woman senator, she serves for only two days.
· In 1926 American Gertrude Ederle becomes the first woman to swim across the English Channel.
· In 1932 Amelia Earhart becomes the first woman to fly solo across the Atlantic, traveling from Harbor Grace, Newfoundland, to Ireland in approximately 15 hours.
· In 1953 Jerrie Cobb is the first woman in the U.S. to undergo astronaut testing. NASA, however, cancels the women's program in 1963. It is not until 1983 that an American woman gets sent into space.
· In 1969 Shirley Chisholm, of New York, becomes the first African-American woman in Congress. Her motto is, "Unbought and unbossed." She served in the U.S. House of Representatives for 14 years.
· In 1981 Sandra Day O'Connor is appointed by President Reagan to the Supreme Court, making her its first woman justice.
· In 1983 Dr. Sally K. Ride becomes the first American woman to be sent into space.
· In 2008, Hillary Clinton wins the New Hampshire Democratic presidential primary, becoming the first woman in U.S. history to win a presidential primary contest. Sarah Palin, governor of Alaska, becomes the first woman to run for vice president on the Republican ticket.
· And, in 2010 Brigadier General Mary Kight becomes the First Female Adjutant General of the State of California as well the Nation's First African American Female Adjutant General.
As we continue to push the flywheel and "raise the bar" that the Air National Guard Office of Cultural Leadership and Development has set for us, interweave these points on your agendas for all meetings and monthly roll-calls:
· The legacy you leave is the life you lead. You just never know whose life you might touch. What you do know is that you can make a difference. You can leave this world better than you found it. Your legacy is a result of determined doing.
· Legacy is inspired leadership that unites all comrades in arms, rooted in the fundamental and enduring values of integrity, service and excellence.
· Legacy comes from the idea that everyone, regardless of rank or position, can make a difference.
Flywheel Challenge: Ask yourself "What did I do today to push on the flywheel?"
· My Legacy... I stand on the shoulders of those who have come before me -- Each day, do I remind myself to be worthy of the sacrifice and to "Earn This!"?
· Am I selfless in my devotion to our Country and the mission of the Air National Guard?
· In leaving a legacy, you must consider where you have been, where you are now and where you are going. Where are you on your journey from success to significance on your quest to leave a lasting legacy?