We’re all asked to answer call for excellence

Take care of Iola, and Iola will take care of you.

I’m paraphrasing words the elder Dolph Simons, publisher of the Lawrence Journal-World, learned from his grandfather about service to his hometown.
It’s that pay-it-forward mentality that keeps communities on the right track in being able to attract future generations by continually striving to improve schools, recreation facilities, neighborhoods and the like.
The same stewardship model also works for business. Invest in your employees through training and up-to-date equipment and you’ll be rewarded with not only a better product, but also a loyal work force.
Take it to a higher level and if we take care of the Earth, it’ll keep being beautiful and bountiful. And I suppose the adage to the extreme, or perhaps what should be the most basic level, is if we remind ourselves to be humbled before the Almighty, then all the other levels would be taken care of.

IN THE WAKE of last Friday’s shooting at Fort Hood, Texas, some things have been learned about Maj. Nidal Hasan, 39, who is accused of firing more than 100 shots at a readiness center, killing 12 soldiers and one civilian and wounding many more.
Though Major Hasan is a psychiatrist — a medical doctor trained to help people with emotional problems — his medical peers often questioned Hasan’s own mental stability, his work ethic and his social skills. He was a loner — alarm number one. Healthy people have social networks that make life more enjoyable and also serve as support when times are tough.
As a doctor, he was negligent, including not answering his phone when on call and not keeping patient records up to date. Alarm number two. A doctor’s responsibility is to the welfare of his patients.
As an Army officer, he spoke against its role in Iraq and Afghanistan from the standpoint that these were religious wars against Islam. Alarm number three. Such sentiments give hints of religious fanaticism.
Of course, hindsight gives us 20/20 vision to what now seem like sure clues that the guy was, literally, a loose cannon. Co-workers now say they wondered if Hasan was a would-be terrorist. Some say the Army was hesitant to let a minority, such as a Muslim, be let go from its ranks.

WE ALL MAKE excuses for poor behavior or shoddy work — thankfully with no greater consequences than persistent bad morale and consistent bad outcomes.
That a ranking officer on a military base is accused makes the crime especially egregious because such places are regarded as safe havens for U.S. soldiers, especially those having just returned from the horrors of war. It’s akin to being abused by a parent.
Even us “peaceniks” hold the military in highest esteem because of their code of honor — to their line of service, to their fellow man and to their country. They demand nothing short of excellence from themselves. We could all use mini boot camps from time to time to remind us of our moral responsibilities to living on this Earth.
If we commit ourselves to doing our best for our cities, our schools, our children and each other — the paybacks would be rewarding and longterm. It’s a higher calling worth answering.

Susan Lynn