Guest Blogger: Rick Schumacher, Tillman Military Scholar Class 2, Owner of Cover Six Risk Management
This past weekend I attended the Pat Tillman Foundation’s first ever Tillman Military Scholar Regional Gathering held in breezy and bright Tampa, Florida. In all, 10 of my fellow Tillman Military Scholars joined me at this more intimate gathering which began on Friday evening with an inspirational discussion with Marie Tillman and three of my peers. At the height of the weekend, we spent an afternoon working on a service project at the local VA hospital.
Our hosts, the veterans of the University of South Florida, made a positive impression on all of the Scholars and I am sure some of their stories will be retold alongside our own within our community for some time. I enjoyed the opportunity to act as a Tillman Community ambassador of sorts, encouraging these veterans to apply in February.
Some Scholars I had met previously at the Pat Tillman Legacy Summit in July and some were brand new to me; regardless, we were all fast friends sitting together in the end-zone while the Buccaneers chewed up the Saints’ backfield on our last evening in Tampa. Why were we all together? The Kurdish poet, Kahlil Gibran, once said, “you give but little when you give your possessions. It is when you give yourself that you truly give.”
I really don’t know how it happens, if it is organic, or engineered, or both, but the sense of companionship and purpose that I find between myself and other Scholars is almost tangible. This weekend seemed just as much an idea incubator as it did a leadership and team building event. Interspersed between laughing myself to tears while suspended 40 feet in the air at the ropes course, being a fulcrum stabilizer on the balance challenge and learning some of the ingredients to effective face-to-face networking, I found myself working through problems with other Scholars as we all endeavor to serve. If we look to Gibran’s take on giving, the Scholars present this weekend, are the wealthiest givers that I know; they are giving themselves to service and I am proud to be in their number.