“No man wins the loyalty of others by preaching loyalty. It is given to him as he proves his possession of the other virtues.”
LOYALTY: Establishes the correct ordering of our obligations and commitments. Unswerving allegiance to the organization and its laws, ideals, and defining principles prevents us from misplacing our loyalties.
The Value in Action
George W. Spasyk (Michigan 1949) became executive director of Lambda Chi Alpha in 1968. Hired originally in 1950 as a traveling secretary (now known as an educational leadership consultant) by his predecessor, Executive Director Cyril F. “Duke” Flad (Wittenberg 1940), Spasyk served Lambda Chi Alpha in a remarkable array of jobs. From 1950 to 1968, bearing the title of service secretary, he oversaw chapter operations, expansion, colonization, chartering, office and financial planning, conference and convention planning, as well as fundraising and the purchase, building, and renovation of chapter houses.
After becoming executive director, Spasyk led Lambda Chi Alpha in its move to abolish all forms of hazing and to eliminate traditional pledgeship, replacing it with what we now know as Associate Membership. Under his leadership, Lambda Chi Alpha experienced explosive growth during the late 1960s and 1970s, and became widely admired in the fraternity world as the most creative and progressive men’s collegiate fraternity. Always known as a champion of undergraduates, Spasyk, in the 1970s, elevated undergraduate participation to the highest reaches of Lambda Chi Alpha’s decision-making apparatus with the creation of the Student Advisory Committee, which created an undergraduate position on the Grand High Zeta, our Board of Directors. Lambda Chi Alpha’s growth during this time prompted the expansion of the Fraternity’s staff. Executive staff positions were created to oversee financial affairs, alumni services, chapter services, fundraising for the Educational Foundation, publications, conference planning, and foundation management. In 1973, Spasyk supervised the planning and construction of our current, modern International Headquarters at 8741 Founders Road in Indianapolis.
Throughout his 22-year tenure as Lambda Chi’s CEO, Spasyk traveled tirelessly to chapters around the United States and Canada. For many undergraduate brothers, he was the face and voice of Lambda Chi Alpha. Spasyk understood the value of “leading by walking around,” of being there and being seen where the really important things were taking place, in our undergraduate chapters. When he retired in 1990, the Grand High Zeta voted him executive vice president emeritus. His quiet manner and depth of commitment inspired generations of Lambda Chis to continue serving Lambda Chi Alpha long after their graduations. Even in retirement, Spasyk continues to serve Lambda Chi Alpha and the interfraternity community. He has served as director, president, and chairman of the board of the North American Interfraternal Foundation and as a member of the North American Interfraternity Conference Commission on Values and Ethics.
The Take Away
LOYALTY: Properly order your loyalties by bearing true faith and allegiance to Lambda Chi Alpha, your chapter, and your brothers.
Of the Seven Core Values, loyalty is the most complex in its application. The very notion of loyalty begs the question: loyalty to whom? Loyalty to what? The demands of loyalty appear in many guises. There is loyalty to friends, to family, to country, to school, to Lambda Chi Alpha, to a set of ideas. Often we are confronted with situations where we must deal with competing loyalties, and we are faced with deciding which demand on our loyalty takes precedence. In the Personal Courage section, you will read the story of someone faced with this very dilemma and learn how he resolved it. Spasyk’s overarching loyalty to Lambda Chi Alpha led him to seek the elimination of hazing and the abolishment of pledgeship as inconsistent with our fraternal values and our notion of brotherhood. Although resisted and criticized initially, Spasyk knew that pursuing this groundbreaking course would make Lambda Chi Alpha a better organization.
When we speak of loyalty in Lambda Chi Alpha, we do not mean loyalty that is blind or unquestioning, quite the opposite in fact. What is best for an organization is not always what its leaders and members say or do — think of the Enron embezzlement scandal for example or the Abu Ghraib prison abuse scandal. In cases like these, a sense of loyalty should compel one to challenge and question. When situations present competing loyalties, rely on the other Core Values for guidance. Having a clear sense of your obligations, treating others with respect, acting in the service of something greater than yourself, practicing good stewardship, striving to be an honorable person, and having the courage of your convictions will always prevent you from misplacing your loyalties.
“We hold that it is the duty of every man to make of himself a man.”
— Associate Member Ceremony of Lambda Chi Alpha
DUTY: Delineates the sum total of all laws, rules, and customs that make up our organizational, civic, and moral obligations. Our values originate with duty because we expect individuals, as a minimum, to fulfill their obligations. We often expect individuals to exceed their duty, especially in ethical matters.
The Value in Action
In the early part of the 20th century as the fledging Lambda Chi Alpha began to expand, a chapter was established at the University of Pennsylvania in response to a request from a group of Penn undergraduates. One of those undergraduates was a young English major, Dr. John E. Mason Jr. (Pennsylvania 1913), who would go on to become the spiritual leader of our Fraternity, influencing the growth and direction of Lambda Chi Alpha in profound and varied ways. In his early days as an undergraduate brother, Mason was very disappointed to discover that Lambda Chi Alpha’s Initiation Ritual and symbols were not based on any understanding of the history of fraternal orders and their ritualistic practices. Mason realized that if the young Fraternity was to be taken seriously by the more established collegiate organizations and attract the caliber of student that Lambda Chi Alpha needed, this would have to change.
Early attempts to write Lambda Chi Alpha’s Initiation Ritual and design its symbols, such as a coat of arms, were made by founder Warren A. Cole (Boston 1912). While a wonderful and inspiring salesman and recruiter for the new Fraternity, Cole lacked the academic inclination necessary to create a historically-grounded Initiation Ritual and meaningful, inspirational symbols. Demands for a coat of arms, however, from first chapters, especially Gamma Zeta at Massachusetts Agricultural College (now the University of Massachusetts-Amherst), forced Cole into action. His creation, known afterward as the Gamma Plate, was basic in design but satisfied the chapter at Massachusetts that needed a coat of arms to appear in the college yearbook. The Gamma Plate took its place with the Initiation Ritual Cole had written as Lambda Chi Alpha’s symbolic foundation. The Initiation Ritual, influenced heavily by Cole’s knowledge of the Patrons of Husbandry, also known as The Grange, an agricultural society and populist political movement of the late 19th century, lauded the bounty of nature as inspiration for man. The ceremony made many references to various vegetables and fruits as symbols for growth and maturity.
To Mason, the Cole ritual and the Gamma Plate were too shallow in their simplicity and naiveté, and he committed himself to correcting their inadequacies. To that end, and while still an undergraduate, he began an exhaustive study of heraldry, other college fraternities, and the histories of ancient fraternal orders. The results of his labors are found in our complex, richly-textured, and deeply-symbolic Initiation Ritual, and in our equally complex and symbolic coat of arms. But Mason’s contributions to Lambda Chi Alpha did not stop there; he also was instrumental in redesigning the badge of brotherhood, founding the open magazine (which became the Cross & Crescent), and developing the first edition of the Paedagogus. He also served on the Grand High Zeta and as the Grand High Alpha. Perhaps Mason’s greatest contribution to our iconography was his elaboration of our most important symbol, the Cruci-Crescent. For Mason, the cross and crescent together symbolize the fusion of high ideals, represented by the crescent, with service and sacrifice, as embodied in the Christian cross. Mason summarized this combination as a charge to each brother to turn our timeless ideals and principles into actions that serve the betterment of man.
The Take Away
DUTY: Fulfill all of your obligations.
Duty begins with everything required of us by law and regulation, but it includes much more than that. A highly-developed sense of duty compels us to do more than just the minimum; it demands that we perform to the very best of our abilities. Brothers and associate members with a sense of duty take the initiative, figure out what needs to be done, and then do it, always taking responsibility for their decisions and actions. They don’t wait to be told what to do or expect others to do it. Mason saw something that Lambda Chi Alpha lacked, and he took the initiative to create what Lambda Chi Alpha needed. He was not satisfied with what was “good enough,” but invested his time and talent to build a spiritual foundation for Lambda Chi Alpha that could, and has, stood the test of time. Duty goes to the heart of commitment; it motivates us to always seek the best in ourselves and in others, acting in the service of something greater than ourselves. When you have Mason’s sense of duty, you add to your values foundation and increase your understanding of what it means to be a brother in Lambda Chi Alpha.
“Trust men and they will be true to you; treat them greatly, and they will show themselves great.”
— Ralph Waldo Emerson
RESPECT: Denotes the regard and recognition of the absolute dignity that every human possesses. Specifically, respect indicates compassion for and consideration of others, including sensitivity to, and regard for, the feelings and needs of others.
The Value in Action
Before he joined Lambda Chi Alpha, Wade Ramsey (Southern Methodist 1975)attended high school in the small town of Monticello, Georgia, where he was a standout student and star quarterback of his high school football team. Like most towns and cities in the American South in the late 1960s, Monticello had a segregated education system — schools for whites and schools for blacks. Ramsey attended the all white high school. In 1969, the Monticello school board decided to consolidate the existing segregated schools into one new high school, which, from its inception, would be integrated. As you would expect, given the temper of the times, there was much trepidation about this plan, and townspeople, parents, and students, both black and white, feared the potential of increased racial tension and violence.
The new Monticello High School opened in the fall of 1970. That first day of class, a number of white students milled about outside the front doors of the school awaiting the arrival of buses carrying black students. As the buses pulled to the curb, Ramsey left the group of white students he was with and approached the first bus. The door opened, and a young black man, coincidentally a star on his high school football team, descended the steps. Ramsey stepped forward, smiled, extended his hand, and said, “Hi, I’m Wade Ramsey; welcome to Monticello High School.” The two shook hands, turned, and walked together into their new high school. The anticipation, tension, and fear had been broken by a simple, public demonstration of respect, a handshake between equals. There would be no racial violence at Monticello High School that day.
In February 2002, Ramsey lost a short, valiant battle to cancer. Half a world away, the supervisor of an Exxon offshore rig in the North Sea received a letter from home. The letter contained a newspaper clipping of Ramsey’s obituary and announced the time and place of his funeral. The supervisor was the black student Ramsey had befriended that first day of school at the new Monticello High. He immediately asked for, and was granted, an emergency leave of absence, boarded a company helicopter, and began a nonstop journey back to Monticello. He arrived at the funeral service still in his work uniform. When the pastor asked if anyone wished to share a remembrance of Ramsey, he rose and walked to the pulpit, and told the story you have just read. No one at the service, which included a number of Ramsey’s Lambda Chi Alpha brothers, had heard it before.
The Take Away
RESPECT: Treat people as they should be treated.
Of the Seven Core Values, two are considered to be bedrock values, absolutely essential. The first is honor, which we will consider later; the second is respect. While honor is the motivator for decisions and actions, respect guides our dealings with others. Respect for others forms the basis for the rule of law and goes to the very essence of what makes America and Canada great countries. Respect for others is part of why, at Lambda Chi Alpha, we abhor hazing in all of its forms. The value also serves to remind us that our people are our greatest resource and that their well-being, providing for their legitimate needs, is the top priority for Lambda Chi Alpha leaders at all levels. As a leader, how you treat other people is a powerful example, for better or worse, to those you are trying to influence. Ramsey was a leader, and as a leader, he saw opportunities to do good rather than reasons for inaction. His simple, but profound, act of respect set the example for others and defused a potentially dangerous situation. When you live the value of respect, as Wade Ramsey did, you have taken a further step toward completing your values foundation.
“The best way to find yourself is to lose yourself in the service of others.”
— Mahatma Gandhi
SERVICE & STEWARDSHIP: Service before self signifies the proper ordering of priorities. The welfare of the organization comes before the individual’s. While the focus is on service to Lambda Chi Alpha and broader communities, the idea also incorporates the concept of stewardship, of holding something of value in trust for others.
The Value in Action
When the Boston Marathon bombing occurred in 2013 the men of Kappa-Upsilon Zeta at Bradley University were motivated to hold a philanthropic event. The members rallied together and planned a 5k Run for Boston to raise funds for the Boston Athletic Association to assist the victims. The brothers volunteered at the event and even funded the event to make it happen. The 5k was held two weeks after the tragedy and the chapter raised $4,000 for the victims.
A large amount of money went to the Richard Family Fund. This family experienced unfathomable loss when the mother and two children were caught near an explosion. The mother Denise suffered a blow to the head causing serious brain trauma while her 7-year-old daughter, Jane, lost one of her legs. Martin, their 8-year-old son, was tragically killed during this attack which left their father Bill with major medical and funeral expenses.
This is an example of being an advocate and getting involved in your community. Not because you have to do it but because you want to help those in need of your assistance. At the core of our teachings we are called to be servant leaders.
How do we judge a fraternity? Louis Robbins (1912), a writer in the 1919 Purple, Green and Gold magazine, builds a strong case that outsiders form their opinions about a fraternity by judging the character of the men who belong to the group. What justifies the existence of a fraternity like ours? Our only justification is also our only product — our brothers as seen by others.
All of our symbols, like our badge, coat of arms, and letters, give evidence of something deeper that is part of our experience as brothers and associate members of Lambda Chi Alpha. Our Constitution and bylaws, Initiation Ritual, and even our personal experience of brotherhood don’t tell the whole story.
There is a principle that is reflected in all of the outward signs of our fraternal bond. That principle, which can be found in every symbolic aspect of Lambda Chi Alpha, is the spirit of service.
Through service we are called to act. This call will show those around us that the primary way to serve is by setting an example and answering the call to action. Through action comes experiences, memories and opportunities to assist those in need.
We are reminded by our founders, organizers, and builders to serve others without the expectation of reward or recognition. We are called upon by our creed to sacrifice for others to the point of suffering and humiliation.
Ultimately, we are called upon to distinguish ourselves from other men by bravely following the difficult path to reaching the goal of perfect service to others.
The Take Away
SERVICE & STEWARDSHIP: Put the welfare of Lambda Chi Alpha, your chapter, and your brothers and associate members before your own. Know that as a brother or associate member you will make an impact on people’s lives by giving back.
The values of service and stewardship are indelibly linked. As the author Peter Block writes, “Part of the meaning of stewardship is to hold in trust the well-being of some larger entity — our organization, our community, the earth itself — for others. To hold something of value in trust calls for placing service ahead of self. There is humility in stewardship, it evokes images of service. Service is central to the idea of stewardship.” Service and stewardship, and through them the commitment to something greater than ourselves, are the antidote to self-interest and selfishness. Central to our notion of brotherhood and leadership is the concept of servant leadership, the understanding that serving the legitimate needs of others and the causes we are committed to defines the true nature of leadership. When we commit to service, and we practice good stewardship, we honor our past and acknowledge that we have a future. If we follow the example of our founders and early leaders, we will always strive to leave Lambda Chi Alpha better than we found it; those who follow deserve nothing less. Adding the values of service and stewardship continues to build your foundation and further prepares you to meet the challenges of True Brotherhood.
“No person was ever honored for what he received. Honor has been the reward for what he gave.”
HONOR: Describes the complex of all values that make up the public code of the individual. Significantly, honor provides the motive for action and demands adherence to a public moral code, not protection of reputation.
The Value in Action
World War II produced many heroes. One such hero was Lt. Cmdr. “Butch” O’Hare. Upon his graduation from the U.S. Naval Academy in 1937, he received his “Wings of Gold” after extensive flight training at the Naval Air Station at Pensacola, Florida. In late 1941, he was assigned to the fighter wing of the aircraft carrier U.S.S. Lexington as a section leader for Fighting Squadron 3 on duty in the South Pacific.
On February 20, 1942, O’Hare’s squadron was sent on a mission, and after they were airborne, O’Hare noticed that his fuel tank had not been filled to capacity. Knowing he did not have enough fuel to complete his mission and return safely to the carrier, O’Hare promptly informed his flight leader of the situation and was ordered, along with his wingman, to return to the Lexington. Reluctantly dropping out of formation, O’Hare and his wingman turned back toward the fleet, but while on their way, they saw something that chilled their blood. Through the cloud breaks, O’Hare and his wingman observed a squadron of nine twin-engine Japanese bombers headed straight for the American fleet. With all of Lexington’s fighters already launched on sortie, the fleet was literally defenseless.
There was only one thing to do since the rest of O’Hare’s squadron was too far away to be called back and arrive before the Japanese bombers engaged the American fleet. O’Hare and his wingman rolled their Grumman F-4F Wildcats into the Japanese formation and attacked. After their first pass, the wingman informed O’Hare that his guns were jammed, but O’Hare continued to press the attack, passing through the enemy formation again and again. Five enemy planes were sent down in flames and a sixth was badly damaged before the Japanese turned away from the American fleet. Not one enemy bomb had reached an American ship.
For his actions on that February day in 1942, O’Hare became the Navy’s first ace and was awarded the Congressional Medal of Honor. A year later, he was killed in aerial combat while pioneering night-fighting air tactics. After the war, O’Hare’s hometown sought to honor his memory by renaming the city’s airport, Chicago O’Hare Airport. You can visit Butch O’Hare’s memorial and statue and view his Medal of Honor; they’re located between Terminals 1 and 2.
Some years earlier there was another man in Chicago; his nickname was “Easy Eddie.” Easy Eddie was legal counsel for the infamous Chicago gangster, Al Capone. In addition, Eddie also ran all of Capone’s horse and dog track betting operations throughout the country. Eddie was very good at what he did, and his legal acumen kept Capone out of jail for a very long time. To show his appreciation, Capone lavished Eddie with great wealth and a powerful position in the Capone organization. In the depths of the Great Depression, when most Americans struggled simply to find work or put food on the table, Eddie and his family lived a life of plenty in a fenced-in mansion that occupied a Chicago city block.
Eddie did have a soft spot, however, a son whom he loved dearly and for whom he wanted the best of everything: clothing, cars, education. But there was one thing Eddie could not give his young son; the honor of a good name. For all of his wealth and influence, Eddie would always be linked to Capone and organized crime, to murder and extortion. One day, Easy Eddie reached a difficult decision; for his son’s sake, he would try and make amends, clean up his tarnished name and give his son a semblance of honor. Because of his inside knowledge of the Capone organization, Eddie became the federal government’s most important informant, providing critical financial information that eventually led to Capone’s conviction and imprisonment on federal tax evasion charges. In addition to being a secret informant, Eddie also testified at Al Capone’s trial, which probably sealed his fate as he was gunned down on a Chicago street less than a year later. Easy Eddie bestowed on his son the greatest gift he could offer and paid the highest price a man of honor can pay. What, you may be wondering, do these two stories have to do with one another beyond highlighting the demanding nature of honor? E. J. “Easy Eddie” O’Hare was Butch O’Hare’s father.
Note: These stories were cited from www.acepilots.com/usn_ohare.html., and from R. Stewart Fisher and Perry J. Martini, Inspiring Leadership: Character and Ethics Matter, King of Prussia, Pennsylvania: Academy Leadership Books (2004).
The Take Away
HONOR: Live all of our values. Be an honorable person.
While being a value itself, and along with Respect forming our bedrock values, Honor is the overarching umbrella for all of our values. The desire to be an honorable person compels us to try and live above the common level and challenges us, daily, to ensure that our words and deeds are consistent. A highly-developed sense of honor provides the “moral compass” for character and personal conduct. It helps us decide what is right and what is wrong, and most importantly, gives us the ability and confidence to choose a harder right over an easier wrong. Many times, what’s in the rules isn’t what is right. Leaders of Character must have the strength to pursue the truth and avoid compromising their values. Honor is essential for creating a bond of trust among members of an organization, all the more critical for those who profess to be brothers. It is no coincidence that our nation’s highest award is the Medal of Honor. Recipients did not do just what was required of them; they went above and beyond what was expected. The journalist Heywood Broun once wrote of New York Yankee great Joe DiMaggio that “the maintenance of honor in a pragmatic world is a difficult task.” Indeed it is, as current business and political scandals demonstrate, but to the Leader of Character and to the True Brother, honor is essential.
“The supreme quality for leadership is unquestionably integrity. Without it, no real success is possible….”
—Dwight D. Eisenhower
INTEGRITY: Encompasses the sum total of a person’s set of values — his private moral code. A breach of any of these values will damage the individual’s integrity. Integrity, closely related to the word integer, refers to a notion of completeness or wholeness.
The Value in Action
“Naught Without Labor”
By George W. Spasyk (Michigan 1949), executive vice president, 1969–1990
As published in the Cross & Crescent, August 1976
The cheating scandal that rocked West Point last spring, and which has yet to be fully resolved, has brought into focus once more the need to stress, at every level of society, the importance of integrity. It is especially important in the formative, impressionable college years of the late teens and early twenties. That the problem is widespread is reflected in Time magazine (June 7, 1976): “Plainly, the military academies have lots of company when it comes to cheating. Educators agree that intense pressure for better grades is at least partly to blame. An ill-prepared student may panic and copy from a classmate from a test simply to pass. More often, it seems, the cheater is not the marginal student but the one with aspirations for graduate school or law school.” Time also reports these observations at several institutions: Johns Hopkins’ Dean Sigmund Susking [says], “Cheating is not endemic, it’s epidemic.”Yale’s Dean Eva Balogh describes cheating as “rampant.” At Lehigh University, a telephone poll shows that fully 47 percent of the students have cheated on exams, and at the University of Southern California, the student newspaper reports that as many as 40 percent have resorted to plagiarism.Gen. Bruce C. Clarke, (U.S. Army, Retired), a West Point graduate and later a Lambda Chi Alpha initiate at the University of Tennessee, states, “It is difficult for me to accept this situation as the standard and the norm of the honesty and ethics we look to in providing our nation’s leaders in the third hundred years of its existence.” In a recent letter to me, Gen. Clarke said further,“I firmly believe that the foundation of the essentials for success of a college graduate takes place in undergraduate days. College fraternities have a lot to do with this.“It is thought-provoking to consider that probably less than 20 percent of young graduates who enter our government at several levels, have been to a college that has stressed honesty and ethics.“All the men involved in Watergate were college graduates, including the president. I am sure they studied many subjects they needed less than honesty and ethics. As we go into our third centennial, I suggest that you emphasize this if Lambda Chi Alpha is to prosper.”Josiah Bunting, president of Briarcliff College, an ex-Marine, Rhodes Scholar, and former West Point history teacher, certainly agrees with Gen. Clarke with reference to the Academy. Bunting is quoted as saying, “If I were in charge of West Point, I would throw out everyone who cheated. All those who had certain knowledge of the cheating and did not come forward until now, I would throw them out too….The word of one officer to another has got to be utterly reliable. You can’t afford to have any doubts about somebody’s word in combat.”Time also quotes Stanford professor Lyle M. Nelson in response to a student who had written him an apology for plagiarism. The professor wrote, “Finally, what does it matter to you if all other students cheat? Isn’t there room for one honest person who says, ‘But my standards won’t permit me to do so’? What happens to a democratic form of society if all citizens say, ‘I have no obligations to rules and standards of decency and honesty’?”I am thus reminded of a young Lambda Chi Alpha undergraduate who, ill prepared in a course he was taking from a Lambda Chi Alpha professor, wrote at the bottom of his final exam, “Yours in ZAX.” He received the “F” he so richly deserved, and upon receiving his exam paper back, noted that the professor had written at the end of it, “Kalepa ta Kala.”
The Take Away
INTEGRITY: Do what is right all of the time. Walk the talk.
People of integrity do the right things not because it’s the easy way or because they have no choice. They choose to do right because their character will permit nothing less. Leaders with an understanding of the value of integrity always act according to principles, not just what may be expedient. They make their values and principles known and always act in ways consistent with them. Any failure to do so erodes integrity and sows the seeds of mistrust. Leaders who possess a highly-refined sense of integrity always strive to be ethical decision makers. They understand that being ethical doesn’t mean a black or white view of right and wrong but rather, always striving to discern what is just and honorable. If you want to instill Lambda Chi Alpha values in others, you must internalize them yourself and actively teach them to others. You must lead by example. Remember, it’s always easy to be an ethical decision maker or to take a principled stand when there is no pressure to do otherwise.
“One man with courage makes a majority.”
— Andrew Jackson
PERSONAL COURAGE: Depicts the premier virtue that enables us to persevere despite fear, danger, or adversity. Personal Courage includes the notion of taking responsibility for decisions and actions. Additionally, it involves the ability to perform critical self-assessment, to confront new ideas, and to change.
The Value in Action
On July 29, 2006, an Australian woman, Kimberley Dear, was to have made her first skydive in the United States. But when engine failure caused the plane to plummet to the ground minutes after take-off, Robert Cook (Missouri S&T 2007), her instructor, clipped his skydive harness to hers and demanded she use his body as a human shield. He was killed on impact.
The 22-year-old Cook, a skydiving fanatic and civil engineering student at the Missouri University of Science & Technology (formerly University of Missouri-Rolla), had clocked 1,727 jumps and earned every possible United States Parachute Association certificate.
In the mere seconds it took for the plane to fall, Cook turned to Dear and told her to focus on his instructions. He clipped his harness to hers and told her to brace herself using his body to cushion the fall. Cook then whispered words of comfort to her and was a voice of calm as the Twin Otter aircraft crashed just minutes after take-off from the Sullivan airstrip near St Louis, Missouri.
His actions saved her life but cost him his own. Cook, the pilot and four other passengers were killed in the crash. Dear survived the crash but suffered spinal injuries, a broken pelvis, and other injuries.“There aren’t many people who would put their life on the line for a stranger — you might do it for the people you love but would you do it for someone you just met?” Dear told reporters in 2006 about Cook’s heroic efforts.“He was an amazing person and he was going to go on to do amazing things himself but now he can’t,” she said. “I am 100% certain he could have taken measures to save his own life but he didn’t. He saved mine.”
On March 17, 2008, Cook was awarded posthumously the Star of Courage — Australia’s second-highest honor, which recognizes actions of bravery in peacetime.
Dear told reporters she was thrilled Cook was being recognized. Dear’s father says Cook’s parents will be happy their son’s bravery is being recognized.
“Nothing can compensate for losing a child, but to know that everybody knows the kind of person that he was, certainly gives some comfort and some sense of connection to their son,” he told reporters.
The Take Away
Personal Courage: Demonstrate the courage of your convictions.
Personal Courage does not mean the absence of fear; rather, it refers to the ability to overcome fear and do what is right and honorable. Situations requiring a person to overcome his fear may vary from person to person. For some, confronting a brother about violating a rule, policy, or expectation may require summoning great courage. For someone else, it might be getting up and speaking in front of the chapter when running for office. No matter, Leaders of Character acknowledge and overcome their fears, and, in doing so, demonstrate the Core Value of Personal Courage.
Courage comes in two forms: physical courage and moral courage. Situations requiring physical courage, that is overcoming fears of bodily harm, are rare, but they do exist, especially in emergencies. This is the bravery that allows you to help a fellow brother out of danger. Moral courage, on the other hand, is the commitment to stand firm on matters of principle and conviction. Leaders who accept responsibility for their decisions and actions, even when things go wrong, demonstrate moral courage.
When you understand the dual challenges of courage, and you internalize the Core Value of Personal Courage, you have completed your Core Values foundation. What remains is to put the Core Values into practice, day to day, to become a Leader of Character, and to earn the right to be called a TRUE Brother in Lambda Chi Alpha.