Words of Wisdom

Tom Parsons, CC/CL
A-Team Toastmasters
Irving, Texas

“As a member of a volunteer organization of motorcycle riders who escort the funerals of fallen soldiers, I escorted the funeral of a 21-year-old Army specialist killed on his third week of duty in Kandahar, Afghanistan. When I offered my condolences to his grandmother, she looked at me with tired eyes and said, “My grandson died for nothing.” How do you respond to a statement like that? You use all your Toastmasters training! I composed myself and shared with her the impact her grandson had on the rest of the platoon which he saved by his actions. I convinced her that her grandson was a hero that would never be forgotten by fellow soldiers who would tell his story for generations to come. She hugged me and walked away.”

Peace perspective: As I climbed on my bike to leave, she approached me with her husband at her side. She smiled and told him that I was the person who had helped her put their grandson’s death into perspective. He thanked me with a strong handshake and a tear in his eye.


By Jodie Sanders