Today my wife and I attended the memorial service of my ministry mentor, Rev. E. Frank Leach. The service at Polytechnic United Methodist Church in Fort Worth were a good tribute to Frank, and allowed us to worship God. There were equal opportunities to laugh and cry. My youngest daughter, who Frank baptized, attended with us. We saw many, many old Poly UMC friends that we hadn't connected with in some time.
I can say this honestly today . . . that a celebration was had by all. Polytechnic UMC was to Frank Leach as FUMC-Grapevine is to me. Everyone in ministry prays and hopes for the opportunity to connect in a real and meaningful way with a church in their career. Poly was it for Frank . . . and Grapevine is it for me.
This past week . . . I've been thinking about mentors in my life . . . people who have been there for me in many ways over the years . . . some to kick me in the butt . . . others to guide my training . . .
So, I thought I would blog a few articles about some of my mentors over the years . . . names of people most of you won't know. Writing this is therapeutic for me. So if this bores you . . . then move on and come back later.
-Mr. Charles Dickerson
Charles was the General Manager at Manning's Sporting Goods for several years until Manning's closed in the early 1980's. I worked at Manning's off and on for about 5 years. Charles saw as his mission to daily kick-my-butt and put me on a crash course to grow up. My first real instruction on what it was to be a man in both character and daily action was as the feet of Charles Dickerson. When I graduated from the Fort Worth Police Academy in 1983, the first person I went to see was Charles at his office. I walked in with my police uniform on, with badge and loaded gun. He saw me from his desk, walked out to me, extended his hand, and simply said, "Officer, what can I do for you today?" His smile was as big as mine. His validation that day meant a lot to me. I lost track of Charles about 5 years later. His family had some hard times. One of his daughters died early. I will always remember his advice, "if you can't come to work and give it your all, then don't come to work." He actually said this in a different way, in reference to a certain part of the anatomy that men have . . . and I since I know some of you who read this blog . . . I'll refrain from writing it exactly as he said it.
Thank you, Charles, for kicking my butt as many times as you did . . . for teaching me how to sweep a showroom floor . . . for taking a risk in letting me merchandise the entire fishing department by myself . . . . and then giving me the credit when Mr. Manning asked who to thank for that department looking so good . . . for teaching me the value and benefit of always using the terms, "Yes/No Sir" and "Yes/No Ma'am" to people, even if they were younger than me.
Thank you mostly for teaching me that my minimum effort each and every day . . . was to give my best!!!
God's grace still amazes me . . . as does the fact that some mentors in my life stuck their neck out for me . . . ><>