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Mentor knew how to keep his head

August 21, 2010

In reference to Mickey Maurer’s column in the Aug. 9 edition, Mickey and I, along with probably many others, had the same mentor, Gene Glick. I, too, worked for him and also modeled my administrative system after his and also learned how to intelligently contribute money for community improvement, though on a much more modest scale than either Glick or Mickey.

Mickey mentioned that one of Glick’s traits that he emulated was his ability to remain calm in the face of calamities and adversities. This reminded me of one of his favorite stories, which he used to explain why he never overreacted to any situation. I will let Glick tell his story in his own words, which is only one of many fascinating stories in his wonderful book, “Born to Build”:

“The German shells were coming in thick and fast, and I saw a slit trench nearby, two feet deep and I dove in. I lay there, flat belly, and face down in the freezing water. Shells rained down and I was terrified. When the shelling finally began to die down I looked at my watch. Ten minutes to 11, Nov. 11, 1944. I remember thinking: “How much worse can it be? If I survive, I’m not going to forget this day. Anytime I think I have it tough or things aren’t going well, I’m going to say to myself, ‘Glick, how does this compare with Nov. 11, 1944?’ That day has become the guiding star to me, the point of comparison for my life. Any problem or frustration I might have today is nothing when looked at in light of that day.”

I’m certain he had to practice that restraint from time to time with me whenever I disappointed him during the 33 years I worked for him. But, like Mickey, I will never forget the example he set and the inspiration he provided through the years.

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Frank Basile

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