We are very lucky to work for a company that values both the needs of our community and the lives of its employees. On July 15, ERC sponsored a table of eight at the Leaders and Legends Annual Dinner supporting the Boys and Girls Club of greater Huntsville, AL. Michelle Armstrong, ERC Charitable and Community Outreach Coordinator, asked Greg Downes and myself to “host” the ERC table by welcoming the employees selected to attend the event. We were joined at our table by Ms. Susan Bailey (RTC MSTD-MST), Mr. Tommy Couch (NASA METTS), Mr. Art LaPietra (NASA ESSSA), Mr. Chase Summer (NASA METTS), Mr. Larry Mendoza (NASA METTS) and Mr. Robert Byers (RTC MSTD-MSF) for an evening of celebrating the successes of the Boys and Girls clubs in Huntsville in helping young men and women realize their full potential as productive, responsible, and caring citizens. The Leaders & Legends Dinner celebrates Boys and Girls club alumni who have gone on to make a major contribution in their respective fields and to their communities. Each inductee was introduced with a biography of their many successes and current endeavors. The inductees then spoke about how the Boys and Girls Club helped them and the many ways they benefitted from the influences of the club.
Coach Saban then took the stage and discussed the importance of motivating and molding our youth. He focused on how we can influence the lives of our children and other children through our own actions and examples. He discussed how his father took on the challenge of a youth football program in rural West Virginia and had to drive a bus around their county to gather enough boys to field a team, and then return the kids home after practice every day. That has motivated Coach Saban and his wife Terry to sponsor their charitable organization called Nick’s Kids that also helps less fortunate youth get a better start in life. The event completed with Mr. Gary Saliba thanking the sponsors and event organizers and encouraging each of us to do something to improve the lives of each child we have influence over.
At the conclusion of the dinner, Greg, Robert, and I were invited to a reception with Coach Saban during which we each had the opportunity to greet the Coach and wish him well with the upcoming season. We then posed for a picture, shown above, with Coach. As you can see from the picture, each of us had a different response to the moment. Robert was in complete joy and amazement that he was in the presence of the man he calls the greatest coach of all time. I was happy to see Robert, the biggest Alabama fan I know, enjoying himself, while Greg was trying to prove to Coach that he still has the stuff to play. Just look at that game face. We all enjoyed ourselves and it reminded each of us that we can all do more for the community. Isn’t it great that we work for a company that does so much to make our lives and the lives of those around us better each day?
By Austin King