Still Leading at 94
I’m taking time out in this blog today to celebrate a leader in my life.
A leader who leaves an incredible impact on his community. His family. His friends.
A leader who is turning 94 today!!
That leader is my uncle, Pret Goslee.
Pret has been retired for over 28 years, and has unceasingly given of himself to the fullest. He volunteers weekly to the local schools in Cortland, NY. He served in the US Army during WWII in Europe. He worked in the dairy industry faithfully for many many years after coming back stateside. Pret, being the 4th of 5 children (my grandmother being the youngest), is the last link of his generation to that side of my family. A generation that knew struggles, worked hard, and helped see his country and community out of some difficult times.
Pret serves as a great example of what a relevant leader should be at every stage of life.
What keeps my uncle a leader is his willingness to serve others. He volunteers over 20 hours a week throughout the Cortland school system. When he retired, he didn’t just take it easy and live the good life, he just changed what his mission was. His impact to the community at age 90 earned him recognition from the Cortland County Legislature for his volunteer efforts.
What keeps him going is his sense of purpose. He wakes every morning with the attitude of “What can we do to squeeze more out of life today?”. His sense of adventure never ends. Helping others, finding a new adventure to partake in, and being involved in others’ lives are what drives him to serve and carry on.
What spurns him on is his optimism for the future. For over 30 years, he and my aunt have vacationed for 2 weeks on Hampton Beach, NH. I have visited him virtually every year for the past 7 years. Each time we wrap up our visit, he says “Are you visiting again next year? We’ll see you then!”
What keeps him young at heart is his love of life. He vacations. He bikes. He goes on hot air balloon rides in New Mexico with one of his daughters and her husband. He goes to Red Sox games about 4 times a year. He skis downhill, and is regularly featured in the blog Geezer Skier. He inspires everyone by continuing to navigate the slopes. (His 91st birthday back in 2011 is posted here – please read).
Until the age of 85 when he had a mini-stroke, he skied competitively. (Here is his official ski competition record). He had a fall skiing last week. Hurt his left hip. No major injuries, nor fractures. I called him today to check in on him and give him birthday wishes – he’s sore and said he’s putting his skis away. I said “Until next year?” He replied with a confident laugh, “That’s right!!” He’s taking this week off his volunteer work to recover, and then back to helping at the schools next week. A ski accident stop him? Never. Slow him down? Maybe just a wee bit…
My uncle will leave a legacy in his community and in his family that will carry on beyond his years. He is an inspiration to everyone of service, community, family, and purpose. An example of his philosophy that the best years are still ahead.
If I am half the leader he has become in his life, I will have accomplished something.
(image courtesy of http://www.geezerskier.com)