26 April 2009

Our National(s') Pasttime (Sgt Delgado's Response)

Sgt Delgado, the subject of my last blog entry, responded to the opportunity that he had to throw out the first pitch at the National's game in a letter to his CO. He included the quote below as the preface. Quite a touching impact.

A man who is good enough to shed his blood for his country is good enough to be given a square deal afterwards. More than that no man is entitled, and less than that no man shall have.

-Theodore Roosevelt, on Patriotism


I'm writing you today to inform you of the outstanding day me and my son Giovanni had at the Military Appreciation Game Phillies Vs Nationals. To begin, Never in my life did I imagine myself throwing out the first pitch it was the most amazing experience that wouldn't have been possible without your support. Nadia of the Nation

als was also very instrumental in allowing SPC Wood to catch the 1st pitch, at the same time allowing my son to walk with me onto the field. When walking to home plate I was able to see Jesus Flores who then signed my Jersey, and gave my son a baseball. The walk to the mound was also an experience which I shall never forget, it's great to know that all present at the game support our Troops. After throwing the pitch, it's was great that SPC Wood dropped the ball and now my 1st Pitch Ball has official dirt from the Stadium. The excitement still didn't end after the pitch, the entire Nationals Dugout came to shake our hands. We had an amazing time during the game, and the NATS won the game for the Troops talk about an amazing game. (HOOOAH) Need less to say the excitment still didn't end, after Adam Dunn hit a homerun, the BIG 44 came over to me and son and gave him the bat. I would have to say that this was one of the few times Gio was speechless. As I saw Adam walk I called out his name and said Thank You Very Much, Adam kindly turned and said no problem. It was at that moment that my son turned to me with tears in his eyes " Daddy, yes Gio, this is a day I will never forget I Love You". Sean I want you to know that you will always be in our hearts even after I have finished my time at Walter Reed. I would also like to Thank the Nationals" Orginazation ( Especially Nadia,) and all the players for making this the most memorable day in my son's life as well as mine. May God Bless You Always.


SSG Delgado Rafael - Able Company WTB

6900 Georgia Ave. N.W.

Building 14 Abrams Hall #2080

Washington DC 20307

17 April 2009

Our National('s) Pastime

On Thursday night, 17 April, I had the priviledge of attending The Washington National's Military Appreciation night down in DC. Our company, Force 3, sponsored the night, and as such we were able to go down on the field for batting practice and Rocky Cintron, our CEO was able to welcome the crowd as well as some guests of honor. I've reproduced Rocky's own Blog (it's published inside our fire wall at Force 3 so I was unable to link to it) together with some photos of the event. I think you will enjoy the read and perhaps remember that its not just on Veteran's day that we should remember our veterans.

These are Rocky's words....

Last night was a fitting reminder of why I'm still a baseball fan. The weather was glorious for mid-April, no rain, a slight breeze, temps in the high 60’s, the intoxicating smell of Hot Dogs as you enter the stadium and 20,000 hopeful fans (1/2 of them from Philly) believing anything is possible with 150 games left in the season. It didn’t matter that the Nats were 0-7. I still remember 1988 when the O’s began the season 0-21 having the good fortune of gracing the cover of Sports Illustrated (no O’s fan will ever forget the downtrodden look of Billy Ripken sitting in the dugout, head in hands) – eventually finishing the season at 54 – 107, 34 ½ games back in the standings. Gratefully, and solely because Force 3 sponsored Military Night, the Nats will not succumb to an 0-21 start, having successfully bashed the World Champion Phillies 8-2. There was joy in Mudville last night.

Beyond the drama of the game and before the players took the field I was witness to something much more heartfelt. I had the privilege of being able to go down on the field and watch batting practice with some other lucky fans some of which were in our armed forces. I walked over to one of the soldiers, Sgt. Delgado, and introduced myself. Sgt. Delgado had recently gotten out of Walter Reed after his tour in the mid-east. He had a cane with him and was leaning against the concrete wall behind home plate. I quickly found out that he was going to throw out the first pitch. By his side was his friend (I never got his name), not in uniform who was going to assist him out to the pitcher’s mound. Sgt. Delgado informed me that his buddy was a rabid O’s fan and was a walking encyclopedia of Camden Yards, and indeed he was. His friend told me that last week he had a dream come true and actually threw out the first pitch at Camden Yards. The two men were like 10 year old boys basking in the glory of America’s favorite pastime. Sgt. Delgado actually thanked me for sponsoring Military Night and said “you guys are heroes for doing this. I never thought I would get the chance to be on a Major League field watching batting practice, let alone throwing out the first pitch.” My response was simply “you are the hero”. I looked behind the Sergeant and saw a little boy with bright eyes, a wide grin and a baseball mitt. Sgt. Delgado turned and told me that the little guy was his son. A Nats representative then came up to Sgt. Delgado and handed him the baseball that would be used for the opening pitch. Delgado’s friend asked the representative if he thought it would be OK if he caught the first pitch. The rep had the right response, “I don’t see why not”. The two men were absolutely giddy, high fiving each other and talking “smack”. I wished them good luck and walked away smiling at how this game can turn any of us into little boy’s once again playing on the sandlot.

Minutes after this exchange it was time for the Star Spangled Banner and immediately after came the ceremonial first pitch. Sgt Delgado, began his walk out to the mound, aided by his cane, concentrating on his dual prosthetic legs to carry him forward, flanked by his buddy, who we soon found out also had a prosthetic leg. Sgt. Delgado positioned himself and waited as his friend walked back towards the plate. Delgado’s battery mate assumed a makeshift crouch, bending his right knee with his left leg straightened to the side as they prepared to once again team up and deliver. This time it was not for their country but solely for the joy of the moment, to feel what it is like to hear the cheers of thousands. Delgado delivered a strike to his buddy, and although he momentarily dropped it, he deftly scooped it up, and then quickly hobbled to the mound to embrace his friend. Sgt. Delgado’s son was jumping up and down cheering on his dad while many watched – tears leaking out of the corner of their eyes. These two men gave much more than their commitment to our country. They were thankful that they served and grateful that they and their colleagues were acknowledged for their service. This is why Force 3 sponsors Military Night at the Ballpark.

Rocky Cintron, CEO Force 3, Inc. Crofton, MD

12 April 2009

Meetings -- the Silent Killers

If you are like most people, much of your day is taken up by meetings. And, when you really dissect the amount of time you spend in meetings, can you determine how much of that time was well spent?

I've spent a good deal (of productive) time trying to deal with this issue in my own situation. I've shared this with my colleagues. Below are my thoughts.


• People are very busy.
• Meetings represent a sizable percentage of our busy days.
• Meetings are often too large.
• Meetings are often unproductive.


Meetings need to be tightly controlled – the agenda should be set in advance; not everything is fair game – if it wasn’t expected to be discussed, it shouldn’t. People need to arrive on time and meetings need to be completed on time. Cell phone calls should not be accepted. Any follow up items and decisions from the meeting need to be documented.

Preparation is key – all meetings should have a known purpose. EVERYONE who will participate in the meeting should come prepared. If there is information that will be discussed in the meeting it should be disseminated in advance. If people are not prepared, the meeting should be postponed.

Meetings are for decisions – Meetings should not be show and tell – That was for elementary school. Unless a meeting is to a large group and specifically designed for mass dissemination of information, necessary information should be disseminated in advance so that it can be read and digested prior to the meetings. Meetings should become less presentation and more decision making. This should speed along the process.

Reduce the number of participants – In my opinion, the most important meetings are one-on-ones. This is where you really connect, where you can direct feedback and where you can actually understand how the other party is feeling about the topic. When the number of people grow, the communication generally gets worse. It’s been said that your ability to get each person in a meeting to understand the information discussed goes down by the square of the number of participants. So if you have five people in a meeting it is 25 times more difficult. Think of a meeting with 10 people, where it is 100 times more difficult. Having people who are not critical to the meeting (not just who will be impacted by the meeting) participate usually explodes the scope and expands the agenda, waters down the communication, or just wastes time.

Everything should not be fair game in every meeting - Just because people are together in a room does not mean they should discuss whatever they needed to raise with that person. That happens better in one on ones. Group discussions need to be limited to the specific topic and only to things that critically matter to that topic.

It’s OK to hurt someone’s feelings by not including them in a meeting – When it comes to meetings, titles and positions should not matter. Meetings should be focused on accomplishing a goal. People who are needed to create that solution should attend. Everyone else should be happy not to be burdened.

Follow-up is critical – If the meeting was important enough to have, it was important enough to document. Certainly any critical decisions that were made in the meeting, and ideas that were uncovered, or any follow-up items and commitments made, should be documented. If this is a regularly scheduled meeting, then this summary should be discussed at the start of the subsequent meeting and people who committed to follow-ups should discuss the completion (or not) of their committed actions.