Greg and I spent an evening recently sharing laughs and joy with about 100 people to honor the 41-year US Coast Guard career of a friend. I met Keith Smith about six years ago when he came to pick up his wife after a brief visit with her in our home. I’ve known Vikki since 8th grade. Since that first meeting, we’ve become fast friends.. We’ve hosted them in our home and are excited they will soon live close enough to get together on a whim.
Rear Admiral Keith Smith enlisted in the Coast Guard in 1980. Former coworkers spent the evening regaling us with stories of hijinks and inspiration.
Men and women who worked for and with Keith shared the influence and impact he had on their careers and lives.
The casual precursor to the formal retirement ceremony featured photo displays of his storied career …
Fanciful desserts and custom creations …
And loads of moments of glee, opportunities to watch Keith blush at the occasionally embarrassing stories and cringe as praise continued to be lavished on him.
The now-retired admiral was clearly humbled by all the attention, but as I listened to the tales and watched him take the time to visit with each of the hundred-or-so people personally invited to the intimate affair, I was humbled, too. Humbled and grateful that people like Keith Smith and his family sacrificed so much for our nation.
Being a part of this celebration was an honor, but knowing this family is an even deeper honor. I am grateful and incredibly joyful that the Smith family and those others who make similar choices continue to serve our nation.
There’s a whole world out there just waiting to be explored. I, for one, appreciate that so much of it remains safe enough to enjoy.
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