Leaving SCCE and HCCA has made me think a lot about what these organizations have accomplished in the past 20 or so years. And one thought sticks in my mind―service. Our profession provides a great service to organizations of all kinds, your country, and the world.
I believe service is at the heart of compliance. It’s one of many reasons why I wanted to include a tribute to another kind of service in our annual Compliance Institute (CI) conference―military service. I have always felt very strongly about those who risk their lives in service to our country. So, a few years ago we decided to have an auction for an organization that supports wounded veterans.
I sought out someone with a lot of experience to help us with the project―Kim Lansford, an exemplary compliance professional at Penn State Health and HCCA member whom I’ve known for years. Her son Justin is a retired army staff sergeant who was severely injured while on duty in Afghanistan in 2012. A roadside bomb exploded underneath the rear axle of his truck. As a result, Justin lost his left leg, crushed his right leg, broke his back, and suffered from many other injuries. Justin nearly died and was in the hospital and rehab for a very long time. When I called Kim and told her what we were up to for the conference, Justin had fully recovered and was helping other wounded veterans any way he could.
When I finished describing the project and suggested a charity we could contribute the proceeds to . . . there was a pause. After working with HCCA and SCCE members for all these years, I now know a pause is often what happens just before someone tells me a much better idea than my own.
I said, “Kim, is there a different organization that you prefer we work with?”
“Yes. All through Justin’s ordeal, America’s Fund helped us,” she told me.
She explained how they had helped her family be with Justin during his hospital stay and all that they did to help him transition back to his life at home. It was very touching. So, I said, “Done deal.”
We went on to raise a great deal of money for America’s Fund. Ironically the organization I had suggested we raise money for went through a major scandal shortly after I called Kim. The CEO and COO were fired due to concerns about how the donated money was spent. An expert once again helped me dodge a bullet. I met and talked with Justin several times―what a great human being. He came to several of our conferences and brought his service dog Gabe, who stole the show. We’ve raised a great deal of money for America’s Fund at CI conferences since 2014. We hope it shows how much we value our veterans’ military service.