In 1996 I went to work for an Army Coloniel at NATO/SACLANT in Norfolk, VA. This was really my first experience with working with/for the Army and also the first time I worked as an Executive Assistant.
His name was Coloniel William Hussey. We were both new to the command and learned a long the way how things worked and we got to the point where we were reading each other's minds. I would water his office plants when he was out. I knew when he needed help getting a pesky person out of his office, knew which calls to send in to his office and which to say he was busy, even if he wasn't.
He was also the type that made you feel like you were just this special person, a great person that could take on the world. His wife was amazing. They were just this great couple. I have a recipe of hers but I haven't made it, not once.
So one day he came to me and asked if I could find him a good stapler. The one he had would bind up and just didn't work well. Of course I would! He could have asked me to do just about anything and I would have done it for him.... No matter how minimal or petty it seemed to others, I would have done it. I spent a lot of time downstairs in the supply room "test driving" stapler until I found the perfect one. I proudly handed it over to him. And, in perfect Coloniel Hussey fashion, I was overly praised for such a trivial task. I loved him!
July 14, 1998 changed everything. Every night before I left I would tell him good-bye. No matter what (unless he was on a trip or something). Well July 13th, I had a bad headache and he was in a meeting so I just left..... the first time ever! I always would go to wherever he was and told him good-bye, meeting or not. This day was different.
Well the next morning, he was late. I ended up walking down the hall and around 9:00 am, the big boss (Captian Lewis) came to us and told us that Coloniel Hussey had died. Massive Heart Attack.
The next week was a blur. His funeral was amazing, just like he was.
Well as part of my job, I had to help pack up and inventory his office. This was done with another Army Coloniel who I knew very well. We talked and talked for a couple of hours while we packed my beloved boss' office. When I got to the office supplies and the stapler, I turned to the Coloniel and asked, "May I have this?".... He didn't even blink or question me, he just said Yes.
To this day, I have that very stapler. I use it often and it doesn't bind up. Just staples perfectly!
Coloniel Hussey, wherever you are, I think of you often. You were the most amazing man and I really looked up to you as a father figure and role model. You are deeply missed and I do hope that you check on me from time to time. In fact, I know you do and I hope you are proud. Maybe one day we will meet again. I'll bring you a biscuit.