I like to organize things… information, data, events, people, projects, etc. Checklists are one way to help with organizing things. I’m also passionate about helping people with their needs, and, helping people connect with other people who can make their lives easier and more fulfilling.
I served 20 years in the Navy and spent 8 years as an administrator with National University in San Diego. In 2010, after my Dad had emergency surgery (colostomy) and with our youngest child off to college, my wife Laraine (a nurse) and I moved to Maryland to help my Mom and Dad.
In 2011, we moved to Boulder, Colorado to be close to most of Laraine’s family. I spent most of the next year back in Maryland continuing to help my parents, including helping them move from their house to a retirement community. My Dad was diagnosed with Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia, causing him to usually not recognize people he knew (including my Mom, my brother and me). He was also at severe risk of falling, so I drove him to Colorado to live with my wife and me. He died about 8 months later, in January 2013. I spent much of the next 6 months helping my Mom with her affairs. In September 2013, the Boulder area was hit by widespread flooding. I’ve spent much of the last year and a half volunteering to help residents affected by the flooding, in addition to trips to Maryland to help my Mom. I’m now looking to return to work, hopefully in a position where I can continue to help residents.
My Dad was in the Navy so our family lived in many places before I went off to college. I was born in Hawaii. We also lived in Maryland, the Philippines, England and Okinawa, Japan. Our family visited France, Germany, Spain and Taiwan. My favorite sports while growing up were tennis and soccer.
I received my Bachelor of Arts degree in Journalism from the University of Southern California.
My Dad had attended USC for the last two years of his college and I found out later that my parents had lived in an apartment just a block or two away from the dorm I lived in for my freshman year. At USC, I also participated in the Navy Reserve Officer Training Corps program towards becoming a Naval officer. After graduating, I received a commission as a U.S. Naval officer at the rank of Ensign.
During my Navy deployments, I visited England, Scotland, Germany, France, Portugal, Spain, Italy, Greece, Turkey, Israel, Egypt, Tunisia, the Caribbean, South Korea, Japan, Hong Kong and the Philippines. While I was in the Navy, I also visited Switzerland, Liechtenstein, Austria, Belgium, Canada and Mexico. Since retiring from the Navy, I have visited Colombia, Panama, Costa Rica, Honduras and Guatemala.
Between my sophomore and junior years of college, I was given indoctrination flights in Navy aircraft and developed an interest in aviation. I did 40 hours of training in Cessna 150 aircraft out of Santa Monica Airport and applied for, and was accepted for, Navy flight training. I completed flight training in the T–28, T–2 and TA–4 and was assigned as a carrier pilot flying the S–3A Viking operationally. I completed S–3A training at NAS North Island in San Diego, California and was assigned to VS–24 in Jacksonville, Florida for my first operational tour. Next, I was a flight instructor in the S–3A back in San Diego followed by department head tours with VS–35 and VS–21, both based in San Diego. After that, I was an analyst at the Naval Safety Center in Norfolk, Virginia, then a department head for about 500 men (no women were assigned to ships in those days) on the aircraft carrier USS Constellation, and finally, a department head for the Navy Center for Tactical Systems Interoperability in San Diego.
National University (NU)
I worked as an administrator, including Assistant to the Dean, for National University’s School of Business and Management for 8 years before leaving to help my elderly parents after my Dad had emergency surgery (colostomy) and developed Parkinson’s disease and Lewy Body Dementia. At NU, I enjoyed optimizing the process for scheduling courses, helping our over 500 students with their academic needs, and, keeping our faculty (including over 150 adjunct faculty) informed about opportunities for teaching and for improving their teaching skills.
After retiring from the Navy, I developed hundreds of checklists to help people live better and longer and to help ‘save the Earth.’ I had developed an appreciation of the value of checklists as a Navy pilot, especially during my tour as an aviation analyst responsible for investigating mishaps. One of the first checklists I created was for our wedding followed by checklists for Laraine’s pregnancies. I put together a book of checklists and created Checklists.com providing access to hundreds of free checklists. While working on the checklists, I did substitute teaching in middle schools and high schools for about two years.
Volunteer Work in San Diego
While still in the Navy, before getting married, I volunteered as a Big Brother in the Big Brother Little Brother program and was paired with a middle school boy who’s father had died. While our children, Matthew and Elizabeth, were growing up, I volunteered as: the vice president and then the president of the PTA for their elementary school; chairperson of the school’s Red Ribbon Week committee promoting healthy choices; Cubmaster in the Cub Scouts; coach or assistant coach of about 10 youth soccer teams; and, co-founder of a group (Dads’ Connection) dedicated to getting fathers more involved in their children’s education through activities at school and outings to women’s soccer, Globetrotters and ice hockey games.
Also while our kids were in school, I volunteered as the Block Captain for 79 homes for over 18 years, organizing crime prevention efforts, block parties and numerous yearly social gatherings. I put together and distributed door-to-door a neighborhood newsletter about five times a year. One of the fathers told me that he thought that my efforts had many benefits including helping to keep neighborhood kids off of drugs.
Volunteer Work Following September 2013 Flooding in Boulder Area
After my Dad passed away and I had helped my Mom with their affairs, I had started looking for employment when the Boulder (Colorado) area was hit by extensive flooding which many people said was a once-in-a-thousand-years event due to the large amount of rain (about 15 inches in some areas) which fell in a very short period of time (about a day) in a very large area (very significantly affecting several counties). Most of the rain fell in the foothills and mountains just west of Boulder causing creeks to overflow and wash homes away, and, causing a saturation of the ground which led to water flowing and/or seeping into the basements of hundreds of homes.
As soon as I became aware, a few days after the rain, that there were people in need, I contact several organizations to see how I could help. None of the large non-profit organizations was prepared to use volunteers until at least several weeks after the flooding but when I contacted Boulder Flood Relief (BFR), they told me to head down to their temporary office. Expecting to be wading through mud and water to help residents, I bought a pair of boots and went to the office with a pair of work gloves. It turned out that BFR was a grassroots group which was started by a couple of young people who had been involved with the Occupy movement and decided the morning after the flooding started that they needed to do something to help. They initially used a Boulder Flood Relief Facebook page and then a website and a phone number to solicit volunteers and to determine where help was needed.
When I got to the office, there were a handful of people on the phone trying to connect volunteers with residents who need help. I helped streamline that process and we set up a database to help coordinate our efforts. Since we had a lot of areas needing assistance in Longmont, I volunteered to set up a dispatch location in Longmont and ended up dispatching over 200 volunteers from there. We obtained 501.c.3 status for Boulder Flood Relief as Boulder Relief Co. and I was a founding member of the Board of Directors. We have raised over $80,000 so far to help flood-affected residents and to help prepare for future disasters. Our board continues to meet with an eye towards developing guidance for other communities hit by disaster to set up grassroots organizations to help residents.
Network of Neighborhood Points of Contact
Based on my experience as a block captain and as a volunteer for flood-affected residents, I strongly believe that an important part of being prepared for disruptive events is getting to know your neighbors, so I have developed a draft proposal to help residents connect with their neighbors. Here’s the most recent version:
- Goal: Every resident would have at least one neighbor and preferably at least two neighbors who know how to contact them and what their situation is so that in the event of a disruptive event, every resident will receive the information and assistance they need.
- How it would work: In the event of a disruptive event, people with knowledge of the event (could be government officials) would inform the Neighborhood Points of Contact who have agreed to make contact information available to those people and they would post information about the event on appropriate web pages (e.g., nextdoor.com, Facebook, neighborland.com) and email listserv’s. It is possible that the network will be most successful (e.g., get the most participation) if it is not seen as a government program. This network would have the added benefit of helping neighbors get to know each other or helping them get to know each other better, which can be a tremendous asset in disruptive events, everything from water contamination to forced evacuation of a neighborhood. This network would provide a way for the city to get information to residents, and, enable residents to interact with their immediate neighbors for things like carpooling, lost pets, neighborhood nuisances & dangers, preparation for disruptive events
- Examples of disruptive events: Flooding, out of control fire, chemical leak, explosion, need for evacuation, contaminated water supply, blizzard, terrorist attack, a shooting incident with shooter(s) on the loose, homeless person(s).
- Potential methods of communication: Phone, text, in person, email, nextdoor.com, Facebook, neighborland.com, mail.
- Types of communication: Each resident and point of contact can use the network to provide information to, request assistance from and/or ask questions of.
- Parameters of communications: Each resident would determine who has their contact information, who knows what about their situation, and, in what circumstances they would be contacted. Points of contact would only pass along information that the originator wishes to have passed on.
- Examples of situations or circumstances that residents may want to have their point(s) of contact know about: lack of Internet access, lack of phone access, disabilities, need for someone to shovel snow, family or friends who should be contacted in certain events, where they would prefer to go in the event of an evacuation, transportation needs, normal routines, whether they would like to be checked on regularly, where neighbors should leave any notes/flyers/newsletters, pets, # of people who live there.