Talking Turkey, and Leadership
Editor's Note: This is a reprint of an earlier blog post, but I believe it bears repeating.
Written by Anthony Demangone, Powered by NAFCU
I'm a Knight.
Well, I'll come clean. I'm a Knight of Columbus.
My father and grandfather were Knights. Local Knight "Councils" reach out and help their local communities. It is a blend of fellowship and service that you see in other groups, such as the Elks, Moose, Rotary Clubs, and more.
In one of my first meetings, the leader of our council was drumming up support for our annual Thanksgiving dinner. Our council does a lot of good, but the Thanksgiving dinner is our shining example of service each year.
We provide Thanksgiving dinner for 600 people in our hall. No questions asked. And we take over Meals on Wheels for the day for Arlington County, Virginia. We deliver 1,500 meals on Thanksgiving.
Here's a bunch of the fellas putting together meals.
The reason for the background isn't to brag up our council, but rather to set the stage for an example of true leadership.
As I said, in that meeting, our council leader was talking up the Thanksgiving efforts to new members. From a corner of the room, someone started grousing.
"Some of the folks getting a free meal drive up in Mercedes and BMWs," he groused.
There were a few chuckles. But not from the council leader.
In a soft tone, he responded.
"Oh, we'll have none of that, brothers. We don't ask why someone chooses to eat dinner with us. And our place is not to ask. Some may be poor financially. Others may be poor in spirit. Perhaps the driver of that car was a widower, a man who couldn't stand to be home alone on Thanksgiving. Perhaps the driver of that car simply sought fellowship and the gentle blessing of breaking bread with others."
You could have heard a pin drop.
I'm sure it wasn't easy to say that in front of the entire council, but his gentle reminder put everyone back on track. He knew our mission and why we served others. He didn't chastise anyone, but rather he served as an example of what we try to be within the council.
He truly led us that day.
Here's a gentle plug for everyone. Our council is not alone. Across this great country, thousands of organizations feed the hungry, shelter the poor, and serve those in need.
Please do me this favor - look around your community wherever you are, and see if you can lend a hand or a few dollars to help organizations on the front lines of service. Many of them double their efforts around Thanksgiving and the Holidays.
They need your help.
About the Author
Anthony Demangone, NCCO is Executive Vice President and Chief Operating Officer at NAFCU, where he oversees day-to-day operations and manages the association's education, marketing, membership, human resources, building facilities, finance and information technology functions.