It happened in May at March Air Force Base, located just a few miles up the road from me near Riverside, California, in the year my mother was born, 1941. Bob Hope arrived on the base to do a radio show for airmen stationed there. And the rest, as they say, is history.
He received such an amazing and heartwarming response on that visit that he decided it was a calling. For the rest of his life, throughout all of WWII (in Europe and the South Pacific), the Berlin airlift, the Vietnam War, Beirut, and Desert Storm, Bob Hope traveled across the globe throughout the year, and always at the holidays, to entertain, distract, amuse, and lighten the hearts of US Military men and women and also to deliver the message from home that they were missed, loved, and honored. Though never an actual enlisted man, to these soldiers, he was known as GI Bob.
Bob Hope was one of our nation’s greatest treasures and one of its greatest heroes. To me, he is an example of the impact one person can make when they don’t give a darn about what others do or what others might think – they just do it. He embodies the notion of embracing our natural gifts and using our calling in service of others.
Don’t get me wrong. Bob Hope had his own career, made lots of money, and used his talents for his own gain, certainly. But, he also saw and leveraged an opportunity to use those same talents as a contribution to the betterment of others.
During this holiday season, as we look toward 2021, consider how you could use your talents to serve others. Maybe as speakers, we can speak for free to people in shelters, prisons, rehabs, or cancer wards to bring hope and inspiration. Or, teach youngsters or teens to speak or communicate well as a necessary life skill. Maybe, as a dental assistant, we can volunteer at a free dental clinic or a career day at a local high school. If you sing beautiful songs, or read stories with flair, love animals, or bake a mean batch of peanut butter cookies… we can teach, we can encourage, we can soothe, we can inspire, and we can give.
As American business professionals, in 2021, let’s make GI Bob proud.
“Your talent is God’s gift to you. What you do with it is your gift back to God.”
~ Leo Buscaglia