Serving Our Country
By Richard Thompson
It is pretty easy to become immersed in the things we do every day. There is plenty of work to do, many people counting on the things OIT does, operates or delivers. This is important work. I gained some needed perspective on this just the other day.
A short time ago, Tom Driscoll told me he was returning to Iraq with his unit in January. Tom is the Agency Information Technology Director for Agriculture, Conservation, Inland Fisheries and Wildlife and Marine Resources. No matter how someone feels about the war, this is a BIG thing.
Tom is a Black Hawk helicopter pilot. He flies medics and support persons to help injured soldiers and others to safety. Now this is important work!
To support the unit as it heads back to Iraq, employers were invited to spend a Saturday at the base in Bangor to join their soldiers and learn what they do. Tom was terrific; he met me at the door, took me to the briefing room, he ran the information technology (read this as laptop!) for the presentations and then gave me the grand tour. A flight over the new Narrows Bridge in a Black Hawk was one of the events.
These are aircraft that are 20 or more years old, being meticulously maintained by the team in Tom’s unit. There are procedures, documentation, upgrades... about everything you see in the systems we work with every day. The men and women using these machines and those that will provide life saving service are training and working continuously to hone skills and be safe. They will pack up their aircraft and gear and take it with them to Iraq.
Tom has a great mindset for the tasks ahead. I am not sure if he is the most senior person flying one of these powerful and capable machines, but he is close. His positive attitude and willingness to take on challenges make him the perfect mentor for those going over for the first time.
One of the major purposes for the event was to enlist the support of employers to sign on as organizations that would support the troops by keeping their jobs for their return. OIT has signed up, to make the visible statement. This is for Tom Driscoll and any other OIT person that I may not know about. They can not and should not worry about their jobs while representing us over there.
If there others within our organization who are awaiting deployment, please let me know. And let’s think about them often. I know I will. Thanks, Tom, for a great day!