I had an old school world history teacher in the 9th grade that frequently told her students to “wake up and smell the coffee.” It irritated me at the time, but now I find myself embracing the very idea she was trying to get across. I have been more fortunate than most. I’ve been surrounded my entire adult life by really good mentors. I have been able to observe, interact, and become personally acquainted with exceptional leaders. Many of those individuals are deceased now. That has been quite an adjustment. But in recent years, new advisers have entered the scene. And as it is turning out, they are younger than me. A lot younger in some cases…. It’s hard to wrap my mind around. But it’s happening more all of the time. Maybe I just need to “wake up and smell the coffee.”
Thursday evening I attended the retirement reception at the Granbury Police Dept. for Lt. Cliff Andrews. Cliff is almost ten years younger than me, but he has enough combined military and police service to go on and retire from his present position as patrol lieutenant for GPD. Cliff has been one of those mentors for me.
Cliff is one of those rare and exceptional leaders that you encounter in your lifetime. I have watched him model strong, fair-minded, well-thought out leadership. He is the consummate non-anxious presence during tense situations. In a crisis, he knows how to deploy the troops and get things done in a way that is beneficial to all. I can’t count how many times I have marveled at his ability to navigate all of us through difficult and fluid situations.
As I have served with Cliff for nearly ten years, his love for his family has continue to inspire me. He is honest about his faults as a husband and a father, but I can’t help but see commitment and dedication. He expects those under his command to honor their family commitments as well.
A man 10 years younger than me is retiring? “Wake up and smell the coffee.” Thankfully he is staying in this area, because I have not exhausted what his mentorship has to offer. Most importantly, I am grateful for his friendship. We have been through a lot together. And I do mean a lot…Thank you Cliff. You are amazing. I am looking forward to the future. And…I think I will go pour myself a cup of coffee. I have been smelling it for nearly ten years now…