One of my heroes, role models and favorite people in the world, General Jack Guthrie, passed away this past Monday night at Walter Reed Hospital.
Appropriately for a great man who served his country for 39 years, General Guthrie passed away on Memorial Day.
General Guthrie is the father of my closest and longest friend, Kevin (we’ve been friends since junior high school). Kevin is the youngest of six wonderful children and I’m considered the 7th child of the family.
I’m extremely close to the Guthries. I was at the hospital all day on Monday … and we were there together when the General peacefully passed away late on Monday night. It was very similar to how my father passed away in February 2008.
Yes, I’m deeply saddened, but I’m also comforted with the thoughts that the General lived a long, wonderful life; is reunited with his wife, Becky, who was also one of my favorite people in the world; and is no longer in pain.
Over the past few years, I’ve been extremely fortunate to receive a few awards for my community service, mentoring and philanthropic efforts. When I look back on who impacted me the most in this regard, all signs point to General and Mrs Guthrie. General Guthrie always taught us to treat people equally and fairly, regardless of race or rank. I’ve tried my best to emulate that behavior.
He also taught us the importance of integrity, honesty, doing things the right way, working hard, accepting your mistakes and faults, and family. Yes, I have my faults and I have made my mistakes over the years, but I’ve also tried to give back to society … that’s one of the reasons I work with anywhere from 12 – 14 non-profits in some capacity or another.
As I told Kevin the other day, the values that General Guthrie instilled in us will live on and on … because I’ve taken those teachings and lessons and imparted them on the 30 – 40 people that I’ve mentored over the years as well as the students I teach at Georgetown. So, in effect, the General’s lessons and values will live on and on for a long time in the greater Washington, DC community. And, I will continue to stay heavily involved in giving back and helping others, especially children from lower-income families (to help create a more level playing field).
The three heroes in my life are my father – a retired Army Lieutenant Colonel, who passed away last year; my Uncle Arthur – a retired Air Force Colonel, who passed away in the summer, 2007; and General Guthrie. And, those three, along with Mrs. Guthrie, will all rest at Arlington National Cemetery. Ironically, ANC is only five minutes away from my home. So, I feel like they’ll be guarding over me.
General Guthrie — thank for helping me shape my life. I owe you much gratitude (and I tried my best to express it over and over the past decade). I will miss you. I will continue to share all the great things you taught me with the younger generations for the next few decades. I love you. God bless you, sir.