So many people express cyncism when it comes to government and leadership, I can attest to having worked for and with some of the best people ever. (Lynn Huggins – you’re one of them in case you didn’t know) BAck in the mid 80’s, there was then-MAJ Stephen Kirin, 1/75th Field Artillery, Warner Barracks, Germany. He always wrote with a cobalt blue felt pen, and I adopted his blue pen philosphy. His communication skills were superb, and I learned so much about the power of the written word. His leadership was undeniable, it was an aura that surrounded him visible to all who came in contact with him. His use of diplomacy was a magnifent ballet of talent, understanding, consideration, compromise, tact. I moved on to USDA and later worked for a man who wanted his legacy to be that of the biggest SOB ever known to the Agency. Though he succeeded, in the process, he saw in me potential no one else was willing to see or acknowledge. He put me on a road I initially didn’t think was fair, placing me in jobs formerly held by GS employees many grades ahead of me. I took that opportunity and ran with it, all the way to my last supervisor, who, in turn, exhibited outstanding leadership in allowing me to grow as an employee, provided opportunities for me to step outside the box, and encouraged me to spread my wings and fly. For the first few years in civilian government I wanted to go back to DoD where things made sense; yet, thanks to some really great supervisors, I have the career I always wanted and opportunities abound even still. Every day I try to “pay it forward” to those employees I see with the same potentials, same need for encouragement, that I once had in the hopes I can do for them what others did for me. To each and every one of you, thank you.