After Donovan Campbell’s recent presentation at The Tradition-Prestonwood’s Men’s Breakfast, 70-plus guests fairly sprung out of their chairs for a thunderous, standing ovation. The reaction was visceral, as if they couldn’t stay seated if they wanted to.
“We’ve had some pretty awesome speakers,” said Jonathan Perlman, CEO and founder of Tradition Senior Living. “But this reaction was special.”
What caused such a response? First, this Princeton and Harvard Business School grad began by describing what it was like leading a forty-man, infantry Marine platoon in Ramadi, Iraq. The time was 2004 during some of the harshest fighting of the war.
“The temperature was 125 degrees, and we slept with all of our army gear on – boots, jackets, everything,” said Donovan, adding that they all suffered tremendous insomnia, afraid always of what was going to happen next.
" The temperature was 125 degrees, and we slept with all of our army gear on – boots, jackets, everything."
A stirring account of his experience is a fast and profound read – his New York Times best-seller, JOKER ONE (the name of his platoon). In it, he fleshes out the members of his platoon and the day-to-day fighting, and he frames the text within the New Testament’s I Corinthians 13: the “love” chapter. For the book is really a story of love – sacrificial love on the part of his men.
Now a management consultant with Credera in Dallas, Donovan says he will forever live out the lessons learned from his war experiences. “Despite what one may think, our days are limited, and each day is a gift,” said Donovan.
" Despite what one may think, our days
are limited, and each day is a gift."
He then proffered trenchant advice, encouraging the deliberate pursuit of virtues: Put character first before anything else. Start each day with gratitude. Give your very best. Build credibility and do something that matters. “Donate” yourself even in a small way to make America better. Serve wherever God puts you – and to the very best of your ability. With discipline and humility, make the most of whom you want to become. Have courage: physical and moral!
So to return to the question above, what caused such an audience response? One guest put it aptly: “In today’s age, people are hungry to see someone exhibit honor, courage and commitment. That sums up Donovan Campbell.”
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