What Can I Do For You?

Life is all about finding our passions. I am blessed that I discovered my passions early in life and have been fortunate to live them since, those being fishing and racing. In each of these passions, there is one common denominator that seems to stand out. Catching a big fish or winning a race is always rewarding, but I have long since realized it’s the giving that I find most rewarding.

An experienced fisherman knows there are times you “give a little line” when the time arises, which can be rewarding.

You might ask why anyone would “give” in a race, but any racer with experience — or a lot of wins under his belt — knows there are times when you back off and make the pass later. I’m not just speaking of giving another car room. I’m talking about giving someone a hand when they need it. I could write a book on examples of personal experiences of good sportsmanship I’ve seen within NASA.

A few weeks ago, one of my co-workers suffered a serious stroke. It was not pretty. In fact, it scared the hell out of all of us. It goes without saying, our world came to a screeching halt while the paramedics performed their miracles and got our friend to the hospital.

When the dust settled, I found myself looking around the shop and realizing I had a handful of projects my buddy had yet to finish, unfortunately some of which were beyond our expertise. Even though I knew the owners of these vehicles would be understanding, I still knew they would not wait for my buddy’s full recovery. What to do?

On a whim, I couldn’t help but think of a longtime racing friend, one who I knew was an expert with the car that needed the most attention. Chris Hovey has always been one of the most upbeat guys I’ve ever had the privilege of calling a friend.

I must admit, since Chris didn’t work close to our shop, I felt a lot of trepidation calling him to ask for help. I also knew Chris had a very busy schedule at the shop where he works, which is owned by another great NASA racing friend, Dave Brown, of “Life’s Good Racing.”

I called and left a message and it wasn’t long until the phone rang and I heard a welcome voice say, “Hey, how ya’ doin?” After a short visit, I simply said, “Chris, I’ll cut right to the chase. One of my master techs had a stroke and he was right in the middle of a big and complicated job, and I need some help.” Before I could finish my next sentence, he said, “What can I do to help?”

Long story short, Chris made the long drive, on his weekend off, which was supposed to be his vacation weekend, to our shop where he spent hours getting our customer’s car dialed in and running like a Swiss watch. As hard as I tried, I couldn’t persuade him to accept one thin dime.

There is a Chinese saying that goes: “If you want happiness for an hour, take a nap. If you want happiness for a day, go fishing. If you want happiness for a year, inherit a fortune. If you want happiness for a lifetime, help somebody.” Winston Churchill added to that: “We make a living by what we get. We make a life by what we give.”

It seems NASA attracts exactly these types of personalities, and I’m grateful for that. Thank you, Chris. I am also pleased to report my buddy is expected to make a very good recovery.

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