April 1, 2017

I, like you, am blessed to find myself surrounded by Angels and Heroes if I just take the time to look around. I don’t know how many I have overlooked, but I can thankfully think of some of those I have made the effort to see.

Heroes are there but they are stealth and their actions speak for themselves. To me the young single mother with small children who works two jobs to provide for her family and always has a smile to greet me is one of my heroes! The man who I know that wears a badge and is a designated sniper and at the same time has a big heart full of compassion for others is one of my heroes. The military pilot who came back from Afghanistan and shared with me, as he tells the story, “I spent two years at Walter Reed where they put my body back together and I then spent a year getting my mind back together,” is my comrade and hero. I think about the mother who pawns her jewelry to meet her children’s need and countless other demonstrations of service greater than self. These are just a few of my many heroes. We all have heroes around us if we would just look and most of them do what they do without being noticed or expecting anything in return. I guess this is where the term “unsung heroes” comes from. People make a choice in life to “run to the fire or whatever the situation or to run from the fire or situation.” Heroes just do it, following their heart. I could cite countless other heroes in my life, just like you can as well.

The same thing hold true for the angels we encounter. One of my favorite songs is “Angels Among Us” sung by Alabama. Many years ago as a member of the Board of Directors of the Dallas Boys and Girls Club, I had a group of kids from the Boys and Girls Club join me in a presentation by singing this song to a group we were trying to gain their financial support. In some ways, I have felt like the “old man” in the song!

This might sound strange and lots of things I say probably are but I once actually saw what I considered an angel while sitting at my desk alone one weekend in my Addison office. I was in severe physical pain, physically drained by health issues and business challenges and out of the corner of my eye I saw something that I cannot explain. About the same time I was seriously considering calling 911 and at that moment my cell phone rang! It was a nurse asking me if I was alright! I told the nurse, “You are not going to believe this, I was just about to call 911.” I told her what I was feeling and she assured me that I would be fine. I cannot explain what I saw or why that call came right on cue but it did happen.

I am sure that you too have stories about strange things that just seem to have happened without being able to explain why or how. That person who just shows up in your life during your darkest hour. That person who give you hope when you have none. That person who pats your shoulder and kindly assures you that all will be well. Angels in my mind take all forms and come in all shapes if we will only realize them.

Recently I might have been someone’s hero or even angel. This same person just might be one of my heroes. Here’s what I mean. A newly hired young aircraft mechanic was using a tool to cut some protective materials to be placed on aircraft interior parts. He was working on a workbench outside an aircraft. At some point he could not find the tool so rightfully he let his supervisor know as part of our tool control protocol. We stopped work and had 24 mechanics and supervisors looking all over for the missing pencil size tool. The young mechanic claimed that he never took the tool into the aircraft but we still searched all over the aircraft and could not find it. I even took a flashlight and crawled in the electronics bay underneath the cockpit floor and snaked around looking everywhere to include the crevices of the opened up cockpit. We could not find the missing tool anywhere. We followed the appropriate protocol and went back to work but we still had someone dedicated to continue looking for the tool. After I looked and could not find anything I walked up to the young mechanic who looked devastated. He probably thought his career at KING AEROSPACE was “fixin” to come to an end. I looked him in the eye and told him, “Things happen and you will remember this day for the rest of your life, learn from it.” I could see the life come back into his face. Sure enough shortly after it was first reported lost, the tool was found on the workbench where it had been wrapped in with one of the wall panels that he had been covering. Everyone was relieved and the event was an opportunity to reinforce why we have strict tool control and that the system does work!

As the famous radio commentator Paul Harvey would say, “Now for the rest of the story.” A couple of weeks after the missing tool event, I was leaving the hangar headed back to Dallas after a long week and I heard someone holler, “Mr. King.” I turned around and it was the young mechanic who had misplaced his tool. He came to where I was standing and said, “Mr. King, God is alive and I want you to know that I had been praying for this job and I want to stay here as long as you will have me. I have seen angels. Twice in my life I have almost died and each time I have seen angels.” I looked at the young man and thanked him for sharing and assured him that we are working hard to find more work and shared, “I too have seen an angel.” As I walked toward my car, I thought to myself, how blessed I am to have this young man and others around me who remind me how we all can make a difference and be someone’s hero or angel if we only try.

Written by KING AEROSPACE Founder, Jerry Allan King-Echevarria.