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It’s not always about the Benjamins

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Submitted by Helen Feng on Tuesday, June 21, 2011

Todd-and-Bill-234x300Bill Gentry and I have been friends for a few years. Bill was supposed to meet Dwayne Holmberg and me in Los Angeles for the E3 Convention, June 2010. I hadn’t heard from Bill lately, so I wasn’t exactly sure if he was going to show up.  He did call me when I was in Los Angeles, and informed me he just arrived in Louisiana. I proceeded to tell him that was the WRONG LA, and that he should have been with us. He told me, he finally landed a job after 2 years, and it was outside of New Orleans, helping to clean up the BP Oil Spill off the coast. I was happy for him. I was also envious that he was doing something to help such a disastrous incident.

As the E3 convention commenced, I started to receive calls and texts constantly from Bill. All were technology related. What I didn’t realize is that through the answers I gave him, Bill became the technology guru.  This proves how a little bit of knowledge can get you really far! By Friday, the questions became increasingly more complicated.  On Saturday, Bill called me really annoyed by the “IT” person that didn’t complete what was asked of him. That night, I started thinking about going out there to help him. Sunday, Bill contacted me once again and was truly frustrated.  It was then that I decided that I would use a voucher for a direct flight to New Orleans to help resolve basic networking, printing, QuickBooks, spyware, antivirus issues, and design the IT infrastructure for Industrial Labor and Equipment Services. I really didn’t care if I was going to get paid or not for those 2 days. I needed to satisfy the gnawing feeling of envy to be part of something that was created to help the environment and people that were affected by the oil spill. It was going to be my little contribution to this environmental disaster.

When I arrived in Belle Chasse, LA, it was pretty much nonstop as soon as I walked into the warehouse. I don’t even remember all I did, but I know I worked my butt off for at least 12-15 hours the first day. The second day, JD Futch, owner of ILES LLC, was having his first company meeting at Captain Larry’s. Bill was an integral piece of his JD’s Logistics team, and he had to go. It was 6pm and he and I were the last 2 to leave the warehouse. I REALLY didn’t want to go. I still had to configure QuickBooks for multi-user support and a whole laundry list of other things to complete before my last day in New Orleans was over. Throughout the entire meeting, I sat in the last seat by the door, and was mentally trying to resolve the IT issues that remained. I really wasn’t listening. Then JD called my name and asked me to come “to the front because I want everyone to see you”.  WHAT?!?!  CMIT Solutions of the Lakes, Las Vegas, NV was named his IT company. The rest is history.

Nola-Skyline-300x225So once again, I’m sitting in this hand-me-down green recliner, and I’m looking back. These people, who were from all different parts of the country brought together by this BP Oil spill, who I probably would never have met otherwise, have become family. I even have a new God Doggie named Zoei Vicknair.

I’m sharing this story for a few reasons.

As business owners, as human beings, we have to find ways to help those who need it; to give back to the community what we can, when we can. If you have an opportunity to help someone, SEIZE it! You may not see the value of the contribution immediately, but one way or another, it will be paid back tenfold.

Every once in a while, especially when you get that feeling you’re part of something special, press pause, and step back. Breathe. Let your soul soak in this moment in time. Chances are it won’t last for long.

Appreciate those who are in your life and who have made a great impression on you. Let them know it!

Today is my birthday, and also my 1 year anniversary of flying to New Orleans to try to make a difference. When in Vegas, I find myself watching the HBO Series Treme, in hopes to see glimpses of the French Quarter, Gretna, the Casey Jones off of Stumpf, of mentions of Belle Chasse, and Mardi Gras. (Thanks Brad Cheramie and Todd Vicknair for pelting me with bags of beads this year!) Good times and lasting friendships.

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