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January 1, 2012

His name was David. He was an engineering aide for Wilson and Co. from Salina, Kansas. The young man had a beautiful wife, two toddler sons, and a good job. It was a New Year and life was good.

The year 1961 was a time of great fear in America – fear of nuclear war. School children went through drills where they would crouch under their desks with their hands over their heads. And the government was frantically building missile silos at various locations across the country.

One of the missile silo locations under construction was southwest of a small Central Kansas town named Concordia. This particular silo was in the range of one hundred feet deep.

The fear driving the construction of the silos also drove the speed at which construction was conducted. Fast-paced construction with people working over the top of people wasn’t a formula for safety.

It was the morning of January 6th. David was working about forty-five feet above the silo floor when an improperly secured two-hundred pound of steel fell from thirty feet above. David was killed instantly when the steel struck him in the head.

David was 25 years old. He was also my father.

This experience taught me from an early age how life could come to an end in the blink of an eye. Three decades of emergency service and counting have given me many reminders. I believe the lesson can be summed up with one word – Rosebud.

You’ll have to watch the number one movie of all time, Citizen Kane, to fully understand the meaning of the word. Some of you already have.

The story is that of a boy that inherits a fortune. When they come to rescue him from poverty, he’s snow sledding. There’s a name written on the top of his sled. The message of the story is to never lose focus of what is truly important to you in life.

The name on the top of his sled? Rosebud

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