Thursday, August 30, 2007

Special Thank You's

Now I know you've already seen a picture of the hat and plaque that Commander Mike Taylor of the USS Ford gave me for taking him diving, but it happens to fit in with my post today, so you're just going to have to look at it again. And plus I'm really, really, really proud of them! He certainly didn't have to go out of his way to have that plaque made and to find someone that could actually find the radio station to drop them off to me, but he did - that's just the kind of guy he is. I don't do what I do for money, I refuse to accept any actually. I do it because I love it, and I love having a chance to give back to the men and women who serve our country. To me that is thanks enough all by itself. But then when someone goes out of their way to express to you just how much they appreciated it, it means the world.

Now I certainly hope I don't embarass him, as that is certainly not my intention, but Commander Mike also has an amazing mother in law. I got an e-mail from Marie Cunningham yesterday, and I was so impressed that she would take the time to write me, I thought I'd share it with you as well.

"As his MILD (Mother-in-law-Dearest) I truly appreciate your outstanding report on our SILD (Son-in-law-Dearest), Cmdr M.J.Taylor. This had been a very different tour for this great man! It has been a rewarding and enjoyable tour for him. He does his job very well and is really appreciated by his crew for sure. I wish that all our servicemen were afforded a opportunity to have a tour such as this and if a different world, it would be possible. Again, thank you for making this port call one he will remember.

Marie Cunningham"

He obviously forwarded her my blog post about him so she got to read about our little Sunday morning adventure. I'm sure that his family back home appreciates seeing what he is up to and that he's being taken care of. But for this very sweet lady to go out of her way to send me, a complete stranger, an e-mail thanking me just blew me away. What an awesome thing to do. And how lucky is Commander Mike to have a mother in law who thinks so highly of him? It just let's me know there are still some 24 k gold people out there.

Then I also got an e-mail yesterday from OSSN Stephen Ware. If you read my previous post, you know that he was on gate duty the day that I picked Commander Mike up for his dive. I'll be honest, I really enjoyed taking the Commander and his Lt. out diving and sightseeing, but not just because he was the Captain of the ship, because he was a truly great guy. But I have just as much fun taking out everyday crewmembers as well, so that's why I offered to take Stephen and some of his friends out Monday afternoon. Here is Stephen's e-mail.

"Thank you so much for the Dive on Tuesday. I am sorry it took me so long to write to thank you for the once in a life time dive. We departed Saipan on Tuesday and have just arrived in Guam. Thanks to you, I have fallen in love with Saipan and I will never forget my experiences there. As a Sailor I do not make a lot of money and your thoughtfulness to include the crew and myself in your favorite dive spot has really made my year. I don’t think I have ever had more fun then when I went out on a day’s trip around the Island and the Grotto with you.

Thank you so very much for taking the time to show us around, show us how to dive and to just take the time to take a few Sailors out on some R&R. It really shows your love of the Island and of diving to take time out of your life, family and busy schedule to take Sailors out to experience sights that we might otherwise never be able to see. I cannot wait to come back to Saipan and believe me, if the crew gets any say in where we go next year, Saipan will be at the top of that list!

I just want you to know that word of our dive with you has spread like wildfire on the ship and there are many a jealous Sailor. I can’t think of anyone else kind enough to take their time out of their day to take a few crewmembers out like you did, and show them the ropes of diving. Thank you once again! If you ever start to stream your show on the internet, let us know, as you will always have a fan base on Ford!

Thank you again and I look forward to diving into your blogspot and reading more about what you do and where you dive. Thank you so much!

With Sincere Thanks and Admiration,
OSSN Stephen R. Ware, USN
USS Ford FFG-54"

I sent Stephen an e-mail thanking him for his very nice e-mail and let him know I wrote a blog about my afternoon with the 3 of them, and he wrote back again.

"Hi Harry,

Thank you for the reply and informing me of the article. While I am “patiently” waiting for the website to load as our internet is extremely sloooowwww, I would just like to say that Guam pales in comparison to the Saipan you showed me. It feels like a whole other world when in reality it is just a scant 90 miles or so away.

Youll be glad to know that you started a big trend here on the ship, lots of people are now going diving. I guess the three of us spread enough stories about our dive to make others want to go dive themselves. I just wish we were in Saipan to help the economy rather then add to Guam’s.

Thank you again for the tour and if there is anything we can get you from the ship’s store, a hat, coins, belt buckles, you name it…we would love to send to something. Just let us know what you are into so we know what to send.

Thanks again!

Stephen certainly didn't have to go out of his way to send me those 2 e-mails, it's not like he didn't thank me enough on Monday. If I had a buck for every time that I was thanked those two days, I could buy a couple rounds of drinks for everybody at the next meeting of Marianas Dive. But I did appreciate Commander Mike's gestures, and I also appreciated the e-mails from Marie Cunningham, and OSSN Stephen Ware. It let's me know that I made a difference to someone on those 2 particular days, and really, what more could anyone ask for?

This is what the Marianas Dive group is trying to accomplish. We want other divers, military men & women and whoever else we can attract to fall in love with the diving in the Marianas as much as we have. We've got a lot of work ahead of us, but I think we're off to a pretty good start. What about you? Are you ready to get plugged in and see what you can do to help us in our vision? Marianas Dive will be meeting next Wednesday, September 5th at 6:30 pm at Oleai Beach Bar & Grill. If you want to be part of something exciting and make a difference, we'll see you then. (Unless you're still Brad in Korea at that point, because you still haven't arrived on Saipan yet, but not to worry, we'll be expecting you the next day!)