Friday, January 17, 2020

What is Homelessness



A beginning is a very delicate time…..

As a veteran of 29 years in law-enforcement I saw my share of homeless folks in all three jurisdictions I had the honor of working in (Los Banos, Redwood City and Hollister, CA).

Let’s talk about exactly what homelessness is. Homelessness is something that is sort of like a cornucopia there’s all kinds of different things inside the cornucopia but all contained in this one vessel or word / category. Homelessness is just like that.

But it is so much more.

When I started in law-enforcement, homeless folks were few and far to be seen almost anywhere in California. There were a few folks that we saw; you know that one crazy guy that sat on the corner all the time, or there was a guy that stayed at the bus stop and slept on the bench there all the time.

There wasn’t a lot of these large homeless tent cities you see now. In fact, I don’t remember any at all until maybe 15 to 18 years ago. Probably more like 18 years ago, when I was in the bay area and I worked in a town called Redwood City, as a police officer.

Redwood City had a homeless issue, but it wasn’t a huge one and did not rise to the level of public nuisance or major public health issues. There were a few folks that were living in corners of buildings, alleys, under bridges and medians of different roadways and highways. It was clearly not as big a problem as it is today.

I won't dive into any of my theories as to why there has been an astronomical increase of homelessness over the last 15 or so years, because I don't do politics. The jist of it is, there are just a ton of reasons but many have their roots in the economics of the past 15 years or so.

I have responded as a patrol officer to homeless calls/disturbances in all three jurisdictions I served in. I admit that I have possibly arrested homeless individuals to help them get a warm bed in the past. To be sure there was a codified crime that occured in those instances, but honestly I would be lying if I didn't say that one of the benefits of the arrest was that the individual was off the street in a warm place. I have given homeless individuals my last dollar, my lunch, my clothes and given them rides on occasion. It is just the kind of person my parents raised and it also felt like something I needed to do to uphold the oath that I swore too. I do not deserve a “thank you” or a “good job” for any of this. Police officers do this and more each day and do not do it for praise, thanks or anything else, it is just who they are.

Over the last 10 years most jurisdictions begun taking some sort of a census on their homeless population. The genesis of that is so they can get federal funding for either low income housing, new shelters or whatever other services that are within the spectrum of homelessness that need to be addressed in the jurisdiction.

I guess it was about 10-11 years ago, I was asked if I wanted to be on the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County. Hollister City Councilman Doug Emerson, who was one of the founding members of the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County asked me. I decided to join the coalition board and see what I could do to help.

One of the first members of the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County I met was Robert Rivas. Robert had recently been elected to the County of San Benito’s Board of Supervisors. I am obviously pretty proud of the Assembly Members accomplishments thus far. We have some slight philosophical differences politically, but he has my trust and he truly possesses a servants heart.

One of the important concepts the SBC Homeless Coalition tried to do with services to the homeless population was to engage with the clients individually. This approach set us apart. The idea being, if we could solve the small problems and then their big problems might be easier to manage. If by example, the big problem was we needed a plane ticket for the client to go back to Kansas to reunite them with family, maybe they needed a job, medical assistant or a roof over their head we figured it out for that client.

We truly had some great success with many of those individuals. In fact some of those folks are independently living today, no longer on the streets and are functioning working folks. I was very proud of what we did with the Homeless Coalition of San Benito County.

Here’s the rub there was only five or six of us in the room advocating and working with the clients. We had a couple of paid staff/advocates that also worked very hard at the winter warming shelter we had. They connected with the clients and also helped them in many ways. Only having a few years in this advocacy, I quickly realized that the need far exceeded the SBC Homeless Coalitions capacity.

Several years ago, San Benito County built a permanent homeless shelter and resolved to provide services. They have received multiple grants and funding and now offer a wide array of services. I applaud their efforts thus far. The original SBC Homeless Coalition was no longer needed, so eventually it was mothballed.

Why did I tell you all of this? It's because I wanted you to understand that I have a thorough understanding of the topic and I have worked on many different sides of it.

So what is the definition of homeless, what is it?

According to the Oxford Encyclopedia of Social Work, homelessness is formally defined by the United States government as when a person “lacks a fixed, regular, and adequate nighttime residence, and if they sleep in a shelter designated for temporary living accommodations or in places not designated for human habitation.

But wait Dave has more…

The condition of being is a lot of different things actually. It can literally occur overnight for some folks. it can occur over a long period of time for others. However the journey that got these souls there is really not important. What is important is that they are now are homeless.

Let me just say this once, so you understand, there are folks in the world, in our community, in this state and in this nation that choose this lifestyle. This is what they want to do. This is not a result of not having a job, mental health or any other thing that you can attribute to causation of being homeless. They simply do not want to live in a home and would rather live out in the streets. There is quite a number of these folks that feel this way. For them that is the solution, we have to be OK with letting them live their life like that (with some exceptions of course). We must have rules of course but at the end of the day if a person wants to be homeless then we have to be OK with letting them live their life as they see fit, this is America, period.

You can broadly classify homelessness in four different categories, honestly there’s probably a myriad of different categories within those categories as well:

  1. Couch surfers - there are a lot of folks out there that live with friends for long periods of time all over the place because they do not have a home. They are still homeless because they are transient nature and do not have a permanent address. Most likely they have jobs most likely they are completely indigent and that they have something coming in bats some sort of support could be found and support or some of the support that is giving him some normalcy and they do not live out in the weather. 
  2. Mental health drug attic’s and alcoholism - are three of the biggest factors and things that I’ve seen in my career that are both causation of homelessness and for those folks to continue to be homeless. 
  3. Migrant workers or other undocumented citizens - I think this definition sort of explains itself. But if not in a labor camp or you’re not working to a standard that supports living with a roof over your head in the community that you’re living in, then most likely living out in the weather on the streets is where you will most likely end up unfortunately.  
  4. On Purpose - As explained in the paragraphs above. Like I said, we have to accept their decisions with a few exceptions. 
We discussed a little bit of the how, the who and some of my experience with homelessness. Let’s talk about what we can do. I will make a list:

  1. Stop all sidewalk service. Stop bringing food and clothing to them in parks and on the streets. 
  2. Increase sidewalk service for mental health and medical.
  3. Try to connect to the individual clients, solve the small problems (my phone is broken, I haven't eaten)
  4. Limit the handouts, increase social skills training / job training / job opportunities. 
  5. Introduce very low income / no income temporary housing (exposure to the elements / other homeless lifestyle habits cause hospital visits. Hospital visits cost local hospitals many millions of dollars each year, providing a roof is literally cheaper in most instances). 
  6. No more camping on city streets, parks or alleys. 
  7. No more setting up their little camp spots all day with trash and belongings where our children / families play and frequent. 
  8. Establish areas where the homeless can go/camp, that has bathrooms, water and power outlets. 
  9. Increase in programs that encourage families to stay together. Provide free parenting classes, adult education and college. 
  10. Bring back drug court, it really worked. 
  11. Free, proactive and on-going mental health, medical and other counseling will double the success rates for many of these folks. 
  12. Take law enforcement out of the homelessness continuum of care and options on the tool belt. Law enforcement is just that. If laws are being broken call them. Being homeless is not a crime. 


We have to remember that tomorrow we could be in their same situation tomorrow. We have to give folks the benefit of the doubt, but not at the expense of our safety, property values and cleanliness of the community we live in.

That's all I have for now. Be good to each other.

Dave

Thursday, December 26, 2019

The Next Thing

As I retire, I realized the other day, as far as my career at Hollister PD and as a law enforcement officer in California, there will be a lot of "lasts" for me, really quick.

The last time wearing the uniform. The last time opening my office door. The last time walking into the briefing room. A lot of lasts.

Auctioneering at the
FBI Academy
Such is life and its impermanence. According to Buddhism, everything in human life, all objects, as well as all beings whether in heavenly or hellish or earthly realms in Buddhist cosmology, is always changing, inconstant, undergoes rebirth and redeath. There is wisdom in those thoughts.

Will I miss all of those things and experiences. Sure I will. But I am excited for the future. I am excited to be able to do the things that I have always wanted to do.

I will spend more time with my family, my dogs and of course keep trying to live a healthy, active lifestyle. I will do more obstacle course racing (Spartan races), I will work on more projects in my shop and around the house. I will volunteer even more around the community and help with those projects/programs that are important to us all. I will advocate for important and publicly beneficial programs in our region. Maybe more....who knows

First ever Spartan Race
Monterey, CA
I would like to hike the entire length of the John Muir Trail or maybe even the Pacific Crest Trail someday soon. I would love to read more. I would like to write more, perhaps a few books. I want to travel more with my wife. I want to see my family and friends more.

Work? Sure I will probably go back to work soon. But it would have to be the right fit for me personally. People have asked me if I "see myself going back into law enforcement or government?" My answer is a easy "yes", because I have a servants heart but I would want to make sure it fit into my families lifestyle and plans.

Winston Churchill once wrote "Now this is not the end. It is not even the beginning of the end. But it is, perhaps, the end of the beginning."

So perhaps this is the end of the beginning of my story. I am truly ready for the next challenge. I am ready for something else. At the gym, before a work out (crossfit does varying programed workouts each day) I always say "Lets do this" just prior to beginning. So I am saying now "Lets do this" for the next chapter.

Do I have some idea of what I want to do. Sure I do (keeping it close to the chest for now). However I will say, I am going to be flexible.
My buddy Tyler and I at the SBC Fair
a few years ago

I remember my mom telling me I could do anything I wanted to do in life. I just had commit to doing the work to attain/earn that goal. I remember my dad working with me for hours on different sports stuff to help me practice. I remember us working on throwing the discus for literally hours at a time. He was tired from working all day, but he was committed to helping his son be the best he could be. Hopefully I am little like both of my parents.

I am ready to get to get busy with the next thing.

always be good to each other,


Chief

Monday, December 9, 2019

So Long, Goodbye...Wait a Minute

After 29 or so years I am leaving my law enforcement career.

Its flown by...........

I remember my first day of the police academy. We all had new haircuts, new uniforms on and were quickly introduced to this thing called 'burpees" (I was hoping he said slurpees), thank you Ron Graham. We ran, we studied, we ran some more, we shot firearms and learned how to use this funny looking thing called a PR-24. Good times had by all....well most.

I remember working the cold foggy streets of Los Banos in the early 90's. It seemed like I always had a trainee in the car then....Wayne, Nathan, the other Wayne, Noah, Sheldon, Jeff, the other Jeff, Rudy, Brent....the list goes on and on..just a ton of intrepid individuals that wanted to wear a shield (or a star) and help people for a living. Good folks for sure.

I remember working in investigations in Los Banos. I remember my partner who shall not remain nameless - Sheldon, and I having just a ball every single day. This cat ate more tacos than I did. We use to try to figure out ways to do follow up investigations out of town....it was like a competition. Sheldon did in fact win. He went to Los Angeles one morning in search of...get this....a load of stolen cheese. He actually called me and had me write the search warrant for him for this queso caper and have a superior court judge sign it and....then.....fax it to him.

I later promoted to the rank of sergeant under Chief Mike Hughes. I had some amazing patrol teams as a patrol sergeant at Los Banos PD. There was a rumor or legend if will, that I picked my patrol team members by golf handicap.........I can confirm. Yep! that is exactly what I did and we did WIN a few golf tournament and I don't even care....

As a young police officer, I learned a lot working for Los Banos PD. Had great co-workers and great bosses. I would not be who I am today without their patience, their kindness and their friendship.

Redwood City PD was also a great experience. Lifelong friendships for me were gained by being employed at RWCPD. Had so much fun. Had the honor of working for legendary if I am being completely honest, patrol sergeants. These men and women were top notch, all the way around.

I learned the value of community policing, engaging with the public and just being a completely thorough and well rounded police officer from my time at Redwood City PD. My chief was Carlos Bolanos, now Sheriff Bolanos.

In between there somewhere, I worked for Hollister PD at the 1997 and 1998 rally's. I was one of those "contract" officers from out of town. I was familiar with the the town and some of the folks that worked at HPD. So, when my 104 mile commute (one way) from Los Banos to Redwood City became frankly totally unbearable, I called HPD to see if they were hiring. They were, I was hired a short time later in 2003.

My first impressions if Hollister were really good. Reminded me of Hometown USA, heck it still does. Everyone was so nice, so kind and really cared about each other.

I began working and began to really understand the town. Hollister had the moratorium then and serious financial issues cropped up. The police department had to eliminate four police officer positions from its books around this time (there were fortunately four openings at the time). We had to tighten up the schedule, eliminate an entire shift and work longer hours. 

I moved to Hollister with my wife, Liz (a Hollister native) a little while later. It was great for my daughter to experience having relatives live next door (as I had as a child) and go to area schools like her mother and family had.

A few years later Chief Miller promoted me to police sergeant again. Had some really amazing teams on patrol. One of my last teams was Officer Eric Olson, Officer Don Pershall and Officer Ray Celano. All of these men have promoted since then. Its Lt. Eric Olson, Sgt Pershall and Sgt Celano now.

I was promoted to the rank of Captain by Chief Miller in December of 2010. I was assigned the
budget, animal control and administration. My counterpart, Captain Reynoso was in-charge of operations. We worked well together and still do.

After Chief Miller retired I was promoted to Acting Chief of Police in April of 2012. This roll I would share with Captain Reynoso that year. On July 2, 2013 I was promoted to Chief of Police for the City of Hollister. Two days later, we had our first Motorcycle Rally after about a five year hiatus.

There have been many ups and downs, mostly ups during my time as Chief of Police in Hollister. I remember having this idea about going on-line and talking/listening to folks. I figured that since we had a lot of commuters and social media was becoming very popular, I could use this new tool to engage with the people we served in conjunction with doing the public events, neighborhood watch meetings, etc. People in my industry thought I was crazy. Thought I would catch a lot of criticism.

Well I did catch a lot of criticism. There was some mistrust. There was misinformation out there. However people began talking to me and I began talking to them. We found a lot of commonalities. We learned we had the same hopes, same fears and shopped in the same stores.

They learned that I did not concern myself with who they prayed too, who they fell in love with, where they were from, how much money they made and what they did for a living. They learned that I cared for them regardless of all that and that I had a servants heart.

This is what it has always been about for me, my whole career, compassionate, honest and inspired service to others. I think you all deserve that in your community leaders.

In closing, I plan on keeping busy volunteering and doing things in this community. Let me know if you need help.

Thank you all for everything

Chief



Thursday, October 31, 2019

A Letter to Hollister




Friends,

My time as Chief of Police for the City of Hollister has come to a close. I have advised the City Manager my last day at Hollister Police Department in uniform will be around the week of December 30, 2019.

I began my career in 1990 in the State Center Peace Officers Academy in Fresno, CA. We were a bunch of young, naive kids from all over the Central Valley. We learned the law, we learned defensive tactics and we learned about the human condition as it related to criminal justice. Some of us never got jobs in law enforcement, many of us did. A few of us are still working in our chosen careers.

Early on I was sworn in at Los Banos Police Department. I worked there for about 10 years. It was a great department and a great community to work in. So many people were kind to me. So many friends gained from my experience in that community.

Los Banos PD gave me opportunities to train new police officers, supervise them as a sergeant, be a detective, community engagement/community policing, grant writing, gang/street crimes investigations and many other opportunities. I cannot thank Los Banos PD/City of Los Banos, its employees and the community as a whole for the opportunity to serve. Thank you Chief St Marie, Chief Hughes and Commander Knapp. Special shout out to my original recruiter, Sgt Nathan Bettencourt.

In 2000 I lateraled over to Redwood City Police Department. Again a great police department and community to work in. Many of my fellow employees at RCPD are still my friends today. This agency really taught me the true value of community policing, public service and really the concept of a full-service police department. Very proud of my time there and I always smile when I think about having 10-8c (breakfast) and Code 7(lunch/meal) with my shift mates. Those folks can eat.

In 2003 I lateraled to Hollister Police Department. I was hired by interim Chief Larry Todd. Chief Todd talked (in my job offer meeting) about how the next Chief (Chief Miller) would probably not ever promote me or give me a special assignment because I had not finished my degree yet. That stung a little if I am being honest. However, I used it as motivation and went back to college and got my degree. I was promoted to Patrol Sergeant a few years later. I was so blessed to have great patrol teams, we handled pretty much everything ourselves, rarely calling out detectives (which was a feat back then).

I was promoted to Captain by Chief Miller in 2009. I was assigned the budget and the administrative division. In 2011 Chief Miller informed us of his intent to retire in April of 2012. Then City Manager Clint Quilter named me Acting Chief of Police, a position I would share that year with my friend and colleague Captain Reynoso.

I was sworn in as Chief of Police for the City of Hollister, July 2, 2013. The very first person to congratulate me was Captain Reynoso.

We had our first rally in five years, two days later.

During my time as Chief we have been lucky to of hired many officers and employees. We have promoted many as well. We have had some great years. I have been blessed with an outstanding staff in all bureaus.

Citizen volunteers helped me start Hollister Gives Back in 2013. We wrote over 30,000 Christmas cards to our deployed and injured military members through Hollister Gives Back. Hollister Gives Back later became Hollister Police Foundation, a charitable organization.

Hollister Police Department was awarded with National and State of California Awards for Traffic Enforcement, Technology and was named National Police Department of the Year in 2014.

We have been successful in obtaining traffic, school resource officer and equipment grants during my tenure.

We have never been over budget.

Crime has steadily dropped almost 30%, although overall activity and calls for service have increased by almost 50%.

Our partnership with Hollister School District and San Benito High School have brought three more police officers to our region.

San Benito County PAL / Hollister Recreation Jr Giants has served over 2000 kids with free baseball during this time. 


We started working with the great organization SNIP last year through our animal shelter.

I was afforded the true honor to attend the FBI National Academy, session 271. Met now, many lifelong friends.

Many other projects, programs and engagements over the years.

I mention all these things because it has never been about the Chief, it's always been about our staff and our collective accomplishments in the City of Hollister, our community partners and all of you out there that support us.

I leave Hollister Police Department in the very capable hands of Captain Carlos Reynoso, Lt Eric Olson and Lt Dan Winn. Hollister PD has a tremendous staff of professionals. I have prayed for them daily and will continue too. Everyone contributes to the success of Hollister Police Department.

Thank you to the Hollister City Council for an almost always unanimous support for our projects, ideas, staff and simple asks. It helps to have engaged leaders. and I appreciate the hard work.

I have been really blessed to work with some of the best executives in the business in the City of Hollister. I have had great partnerships with the county and courts. 

I have benefited from excellent regional partnerships with law enforcement agencies in the region. Amazing relationships for with my fellow Chiefs in CalChiefs and the International Association of Chiefs of Police. 

I had great bosses in Clint Quilter and then later Bill Avera. Thank you Clint for believing in me. Thank you Bill for your unwavering support of me, our team and this city. 

I truly thank you all for your support, your encouragement and your friendship. I will have more words and more thanks in the coming days.

As always, be nice to each other, I’ll be seeking new adventures because (as Frank Herbert wrote) "A person needs new experiences. They jar something deep inside, allowing you to grow. Without them, it sleeps- seldom to awaken. The sleeper must awaken…."


Chief

Sunday, August 4, 2019

To Be or Not To Be


Every dream begins within the minds eye. Through our experiences, our triumphs, our tragedy and our daily lives. All of these things together construct that incorporeal soup in our brains Then it forms our thoughts.

My dream is simple. I want to see less death and violence in our region, state, country and world.

Our country use to be the example and leader in the world. In many positive ways, we as a nation, are leaders of the world. But unfortunately we also lead many of the negative things and are examples of that.

I’m not going to tiptoe around anything on this subject. Intolerance and hate are fueling these negative examples and tragedies in our country. Hate for our fellow man is the root of the cause, period

Some would argue mental health, economic imbalances, ideology and other related factors. I don’t dismiss any of that. But it’s hate and intolerance that is the causation.

Many would argue it’s about our gun laws and availability of firearms. It is accurate that firearms are the instrument in many these attack’s. We have also seen with some frequency cars, trucks, plans, fertilizer, fire, knives and chemicals used as well. All of which are for the most part totally unregulated items that have been used to kill.

This is not a pro gun or anti gun discussion, because we’ve seen the evidence that it doesn’t matter -(But Chief if there weren’t guns some of these people would be alive - yes I agree that we need to make some prudent, meaningful and well thought fixes to our system). I would offer that hateful, intolerant people always find a way to perform their mission.

My theory - it all starts at home.

If we raise with love - respectful, caring and responsible children that example has exponential possibilities for a positive future generations.

If we raise criminals that prey on their contemporaries, feed off of our society and don’t contribute we will have exponentially negative experiences for our future generations. A dim and dire future indeed.

It is that simple in my opinion.

As mentioned, I am not discussing the social and mental health issues because frankly, while it’s a big part of the discussion. It’s too broad of scope for this writing. I’ll tackle that later. To be sure, we don’t do enough for these folks and we need solid action to tackle these issues.

I am scared for our future, but I will continue to hope, continue to care and continue to work to protect the people we serve. Hopefully by our (law Enforcement in this country) example of truly caring for and loving our fellowman we can see the dawn of a new and better world.


One that is safe for all.

One that is tolerant.

One that is caring and nurturing.

One that we can be proud of.

One that we can give to our children,
for a better tomorrow.

In closing I quote Klingon Chancellor Gorkon from Star Trek V
“. If there is to be a brave new world, our generation is going to have the hardest time living in it.”

Be kind to each other,

Chief

Monday, July 22, 2019

The Social Media Effect

For many of us in public safety, the advent of social media has been a really great way to engage the communities we serve. It aids in government transparency, connects us with community and helps us message those things that folks should or need to know about their community like crime trends, wanted/missing persons and other related public safety info. Many of our agencies/municipalities have hired personnel specifically for increased social media engagement and info sharing. That is all positive and great stuff.

On the flip side, because of social media we have had to author social media policies for agencies and personnel. These policies, like the plethora of other regulations and guides we work with are written and adopted to protect our personnel and agency. Its not been easy. We have made mistakes. We have done some really dumb stuff in public safety/government if I am being honest, including me.

Today though I want to address a very specific thing I've seen for years on social media and would love to hear some input from either public safety personnel and the general public.

Police departments, sheriffs, marshals, troopers,,,,whatever color uniform, shape of badge of all types are on social media. I personally eclipsed the 10 year mark as a police officer on social media awhile back. When I first went on social media, I did not hide my occupation. I didn't really hide anything, still don't. I wanted folks to know who I was and I was there to listen and would always try to help. Being a new form of engagement and contact, it was clunky and clumsy starting out. But from day one, I was asked questions, mostly general law enforcement stuff, but sometimes really specific questions on a on-going public safety matter or active investigation.

I knew discussing active or on-going things was a mine field of danger. So I always answered with information that was releasable or was just benign information that would not affect a cases prosecution or out come. I found it a really nice vehicle with communicating my jurisdictions comings and goings. I learned how to share our press releases and even started using some other engagement tools for disseminating news worthy events / reported crimes.

Now you see, crime has been relatively unchanged. Its mercurial, sometimes higher in depressed economic times, but for the most part it ebbs and flows up with the passage of time. What I noticed after social media got up and running was this persistent thought from the public that crime was getting worse when it in fact was actually going down at the time. This new communication channel, social media, was sort of misrepresenting or at least there was the perception that crime was increasing because of the public access to press releases and other related information. Press releases use to be sent out to the news media exclusively, if the news thought it was interesting they would send a reporter out to interview our press officer and it would become a headline in print or maybe lead story at 6 PM. Now with social media, the public had the potential to receive these same press releases 24/7 and we were, as an industry unprepared to deal with the volume of information.

Public safety / government leaders we need to do an even better job of explaining and engaging the public. Has crime increased? Sure there are certainly times during the last 10+ years that crime has increased and also decreased. Providing context to the public is the key here. My suggestion to counteract "The Social Media Effect" is to include statistical or empirical evidence on any pertinent news release where it makes sense.

An example headline and copy "Homeless Campsite Caused Fire". You could add at the end if applicable ".....the last three years a homeless census was conducted locally. 351 individuals were identified, a decrease of 32 individuals total from the previous census in 2017. Reductions were credited to the new job training programs, relocation assistance and the new all-year shelter."

Its transparent, it sends the message that there is some mitigation efforts and gives the reader context for the issue that is being reported.

Help me battle the "The Social Media Effect" by keeping the public informed with factual data and information.

Monday, March 18, 2019

Have you paid your entry fees?

Rodeo participants (and their parents) know what I’m talking about when I reference entry fees. Other things have entry fees, road races, athletic competitions and other things of this nature. Today though, I am talking about life, success and the road before you, those kind of entry fees.

People these days seem to be in such a rush. Our society feeds on the next “thing”. Fads, movies, clothes, activities the latest coffee...you name it, we are rushing to go get it. We talk about it, we post about it, we Snapchat, tweet. We cannot get to it or there fast enough.


But have you ever asked yourself if you deserve it? If you’ve earned it? If you have put in the time? If you have paid your dues?


It’s a subjective question that has to be answered by you and your heart. Our perspective on it is important. Earning it might take extra effort and work. It might take one more rep in the gym. One more mile on the trail. One more spreadsheet. One more solved case. One more shelf restocked. These are tangible and easily recognizable things that you can do.


What about your heart? Do you posses a servants heart? Most of us hope so, but your heart will guide, if you listen to it. Do you have the heart to commit to the tasks needed? Does your heart tell you when you’ve done enough and your entry fees are paid up?


My point is, at the end of the day are you doing enough in life to pay the entry fees?

Ask yourself:
  • “what have I done for my community this week.”
  • “who have I helped today”
  • “what kind of example am I to my family and friends”
  • “If I died today, what would be the first memory people had of me”


Have a great day and make sure your entry fees are paid.


Chief