Tuesday, September 05, 2006

Tribute to Alan Mulally

When I was director of a small child abuse agency in Snohomish County, we asked Alan Mulally to come headline a special fundraising event for us to give it some star appeal.  And did he. He arrived on a helicopter, with TV cameras in tow.  His comments were on the evening news (and so was the name of our little non-profit).

I after I made my comments to the 350 or so folks in attendance, Alan prepared to get up to speak to the group as well. But before he did, he reached over to me  and handed me a personal check for $1000, made out to our agency.  His simple words to me were, “Keep up the good work.”

I’m proud of Alan’s current success — today he was picked to chair the Ford Motor Co. Boeing will miss him.  Sure, he ended up driving a hard bargain with the Machinists Union.  Yes, there were plenty of layoffs during the tough times following Sept 11th.  But Mulally brought Boeing and its high-paying jobs back from the brink, and every step of the way, Boeing continued its long tradition of strong financial support for human service programs like United Way.

Maybe it’s all because of something else Alan shared with me that day.  After we had both spoken, he looked across our table to me and said, “Have you ever heard of Rev. Dale Turner?”  I had, of course.  Every clergyperson in Seattle has.  “I was a little red-haired kid sitting in the front row of his church back in Wichita, Kansas, before he moved out to Seattle.  He taught me a lot and I’m in touch with him to this day.”

Alan, thanks for the good jobs for people in the Seattle area.  Thanks for the contributions to human service work.  Thanks for your living testimony to the contributions clergy like Dale Turner have made.

As he heads to Detroit – a place that needs good jobs for workers and their families - I’ll share with Alan the same words he shared with me.  “Keep up the good work.”


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