I first wrote about this topic in my January 2010 column for LMT's sister publication, Maintenance Technology (MT). Please indulge me as I go over it again here.I think it fits.
As I mentioned in MT, I had spent much of New Year's Day blubbering over the receipt of one of those "Who's Packing Your Parachute?" e-mails. The message focuses on what is said to be an actual event in the life of Charles Plumb, a U.S. Navy pilot shot down over Vietnam. He ejected from his plane, parachuted into enemy hands and spent six years in a Communist Vietnamese prison. Having survived the ordeal, Plumb returned home and began lecturing on lessons learned from his experience. Sometime later, as the story goes, he was approached in a restaurant by another diner, who called Plumb by name and said that he knew about his days flying jets from the Kitty Hawk. As it turned out, this guy—a person heretofore unknown to Plumb and someone he might never have come in contact with—had been the individual who packed the parachute that saved the former pilot's life years before.
While I can't vouch for the veracity of all the details, the story does make great food for thought. In the end, the recipient (that's YOU) is encouraged to reflect on and thank the people in your life who have worked on packing your "parachute" by sending this inspirational chain-letter type of message on to as many of them as you can.
Receiving this e-mail from someone you know can really touch your heart. This time around, though, the experience was especially moving for me. The sender was one of my little brothers—the toughest, sternest, hardest-driving one. Brilliant and decisive, with arguably the best head for business in our entrepreneurial family, he's always been the sibling that the rest of us (both older and younger) have looked up to. I never could have envisioned this high-flying wing-walker EVER needing a parachute, much less thinking of me as someone who had done any folding and tucking on it. I thank him for that and lots of other things, too, including reminding me that we shouldn't wait to show our appreciation for the countless, often unknown, parachute packers in our lives, personal and otherwise.
That brings me to my point. On behalf of Lubrication Management & Technology, I thank all of you—readers, contributors, advertisers, suppliers and other friends of this magazine—for helping pack OUR parachute. Whoever you are, wherever you are, please know that we are well aware that your loyalty and strong, ongoing support are what give us the ability to get out there and really "fly" in this space!
We know that the last couple of down years have been extremely rough on you. We also know that a full economic recovery is not necessarily going to be a done deal this year. No matter.
At LMT, we're committed to serving your critical information needs—and those of future generations of lubrication management professionals and suppliers to the industry—for many years to come.
In short, we look forward to helping pack YOUR parachute(s) for a long, long time! Best Wishes for a Happy & Prosperous 2010! LMT