91st Anniversary (Guam Chamber of Commerce)by moneyre5
Photos of Carl Peterson during his induction as the 2015 Business Laureate for the Guam Chamber of Commerce Hall of Fame
Honored Guests, Ladies and Gentlemen, please allow me to introduce my family. First I want you to meet my favorite Realtor. And if you can keep a secret and not tell anyone, she sleeps with her Broker!
Tonight is a special night for Clara and I . . . . not only for the obvious, but because 26 years ago following the 65th anniversary, Clara was brutally attacked and almost died. For anyone who has had to go through something like that, you know how it can bring you to your knees in more ways than one. For a couple of weeks it was touch and go but over a long convalescence she recovered and then we both got well – counting our blessings each and every day. So whenever we can go to this event at the Chamber, it is always a special night. Everything is going so well that now I only have to contemplate “why did she hitch her wagon to mine? Or . . . . maybe it was the other way around! Either way I am blessed.”
My daughter Sonia is a Vet from the Somalia Conflict during the time of Black Hawk Down. This is her first trip home in 42 years! She has a Masters in technological efficiencies, she works at Madigan Hospital on Ft. Lewis, and she and her husband Rob have 4 children.
Rani is our Hillsdale College graduate, the most constitutionally correct college in America. She works with Altres, a placement, human resources, and accounting outsourcing firm in Hawaii, and she and her husband Shawn Quinata, just recently added a new granddaughter named Issele to our grandchildren.
Genni is a UH Manoa grad; she worked with Apple all through college and is still with them in Santa Monica, CA but change may be in the wind. And she is still single!
And finally Jon-Carl, our only son. He serving our country as a special ops Navy Diver assigned to Naval Special Warfare Unit 3, SDV 1 (SDV is SEAL Delivery Vehicles). We actually don’t think he does anything . . . . . because he doesn’t tell us anything except that sometimes he does some very exciting things. But it did not sound like it was similar to riding a Harley to Sturgis or shooting a moose in the wilderness. I think it was more intense than that.
They all are head-strong and very determined in their own way. . . . . I wonder where that came from. I guess the coconuts don’t fall far from the tree.
. . . . . . . (family sits)
All of us need the help of others to progress in business. One lady who I am deeply indebted to for keeping up with me and constantly keeping me compliant for about 30 years. And that is Bobbie Lujan sitting here with her husband, Duck’s Dynasty super-star Phil Robinson! (Stand up Phil – otherwise known as Dan Lujan!) He will probably be picking up a guitar with fur on it and sing a Z Z Top hit later. Also at that table is Virgil Barrozo and Mercy Alegre, both of which I have worked with for nearly 4 decades.
We switched Broker/Dealers a couple years ago and the folks at Asia Pacific are sitting over there. They are the younger generation. . . . . well Mick and I kinda see eye to eye on age . . . . and they are wonderful people to work with; they have the largest number of licensed registered reps on Guam and they are a full service broker/dealer. . . . . . . .
Most people have gone through life without having a person who would absolutely lay down his life for you in an instant. Marilyn Cruz Roberts was supposed to be sitting there but because she is ill and cannot travel she is not. But her husband Jim, who is no longer with us, was one such guy and on a night like this, I miss him, a lot. Marilyn and Elaine Jones are sisters.
I heard the ad “91 years championing Free Enterprise.” That is a great tribute to the Chamber but it has only been possible because of the people who woke up every day and chose to wear the uniform and defend free enterprise, liberty and freedom. Freedom & Liberty is never more than a generation from extinction and I want to express my gratitude for everyone here who has ever worn the uniform – join with me in expressing our thanks . . . . . .
It seems inappropriate for me to be up here. First because this is supposed to be a lifetime achievement award and I am not done yet! Further, I am not that old – I even grew a goatee to look older! But I guess when you get the 50 year award for being in business and you were the only owner, you must be at least 51!!!
But a more serious reason, if I had my druthers, and the ROD was already signed, I would think the guys who formed the AFC, known in some military circles as the Boyz in the Hood, should be up here for what the AFC has accomplished – guys like Gerry Perez, Tom Michels, and Jim who is already a Laureate. They have all shelled out over $100,000 of their own money to support the forward deployment of our military – air, land, and sea. Guys like Joe Arnett, Jeff Jones, and a number of others have also paid their dues.
As I look out at all of you, I marvel at the thought of how many stories are out there – the stories of how you got from where you started in order to be here at this event tonight. What happened to motivated you to be an entrepreneur? What was the defining moment? Who were all your mentors? Did you experience both failures and successes along the way? I know many of you here, in your own way, have been mentors to me. But over time we all changed, especially me! I want to share some things with you because it is not the award, it is about who you are and how you got here; why do I believe so staunchly what I believe in?
At the age of 36, I was completely re-wired after being elected to lead a world-wide organization. Literally every morning, noon, and night I was asked to expound on the virtues of Jaycees; to demonstrate its effectiveness, not only to Kings/Queens, Prime Ministers or Presidents but to the press at every stop; I would demonstrate what Jaycees will do for the guy in the back of the room, because I used to be that guy, if they would only apply themselves and get involved.
I left for Moss, Norway on the 2nd of January where it was a minus 40; the next stop was Dakar, Senegal, where it was 90 in the shade; then I stopped in friendly and not so friendly countries throughout West Africa; on to NY, Miami and then to Nova Scotia and every province in Canada before coming back to Guam for a couple of days. But something was eating at me from the very first stop that I could not put my finger on. . . . . .until we landed at (then) NAS.
At that moment it hit me. In every country I had visited, including my own, people’s freedom and their ability to follow their dreams, their aspirations, to become all they could be, were being usurped in countless ways. In the developed countries many seemed to be robbed of the virtues of humility, of hard work, and standing up for what they believe in, as they were now asking their Gov’t to do for them that which they should have been doing for themselves; in the underdeveloped world, just to feed themselves was very hard work. It seemed it is okay to keep them poor and uneducated so they could be controlled; tyrants and dictators lived in palatial mansions while the people lived in absolute poverty; entire generations of human beings were lost. And so it gradually sank in, every country was losing their freedoms but it was only a matter of degree. To some it was just starting but for others, it was over. One realizes that economic freedom is the backdrop against which all other freedoms unfold; those with the most economic freedom had better lives, they were healthier, and they had opportunity. Those countries without outside capital investment for infrastructure, did not have opportunity and the ability to harvest the reward of their labor; they suffered.
As an aside to all of this, I was the last International Jaycee out of Tehran before the Shah was overthrown. Tehran was a very modern city, free enterprise was very much alive; they had the most discriminating membership – to be a Jaycee you had to have a Masters degree; after it fell however, a Professor, a Ph.D. at Tehran University, Said Nejang, a Jaycee Vice President on the Board before me, was staked out and ran over with a vehicle. He lived; somehow got to the US for treatment; but eventually died as pauper. The National President was the country manager for IBM. He was captured and detained with 2 American employees of Ross Perot. When Ross Perot was told he would get no help from the US Gov’t to rescue his employees, he put together his own little Army who flew to Iran, parachuted into the country and extracted his employee hostages along with Masoud Jalili and over a number of days and lots of difficulties, got out with them . . . . . probably IBM colluded with Ross Perot to make it happen. The whole story is told in a book named “On Wings of Eagles”.
*A post script to this story: The following year I was on my way to Germany to make a speech. I got on PanAm’s 747 in Karachi. There were only 3 people on the whole plane. It landed in Tehran, which was not on the schedule. When we left Tehran, it was more than 100% full, people were sitting on the aisle . . . . all with US passports and one could see they were with means. According to them, Iran wanted all those with wealth and education to leave.
When all of this slowly sinks in, it consumes you; you know you must do as much as you possibly can; you must dedicate the rest of the year to being as aggressively and poignant as possible; to teach free enterprise, promote self-development, and the virtue of hard work.
Over here on my right is the Declaration of Principles of Jaycees. This became my mantra every day. This is what I defended; this is what become my life and everything I believe in, to this day! Follow along with me:
It says, WE BELIEVE. It does not say those 6 lines are suggestions; it says that this is what all Jaycees believe.
THAT Faith in God gives meaning and purpose to human life. It does not say which God, it means the GOD of your own conscience. It is the essence of freedom. Even the atheist believes in God – the God within because if he did not, he could not even cross the street. We must start with faith in ourselves as a unique, irreplaceable part of the whole, because that gives meaning and purpose.
THAT The Brotherhood of Man Transcends the Sovereignty of Nations: One of its most meaningful manifestations is the Internationalism it encourages. To address the problems of today a global perspective is needed. Our world has grown too small for anything less than brotherhood. . . .too critical for anything less than love. And it is done sitting around a table without the politician or politics, creating projects that benefit our communities and then multiple that activity by millions.
THAT Economic Justice and Best Be Won Free By Men Through Free Enterprise (men meaning mankind of course): Private property is the essence of free enterprise. Being able to keep the product of your labor is only way to have upward mobility.
From 1900-2000 there was almost total creative destruction! It was out with the old, in with the new and literally everything was created by individuals left to explore their own creative genius. Just think of the impact of Henry Ford, Bill Gates, and Steve Jobs!!!? The world’s standard of living has evolved because of creative destruction. We just need to turn it loose in one area – education! For 100 years we have had a teacher in the classroom as the primary teaching tool. But today there are new tools; the world’s knowledge is stored on a handheld device; kids are born to explore new things; some do not want to be held back; those who are not buying Gov’t mandated education as the sole method of learning, are going to the head of the class — they are excelling at anything and everything. They are the creative destruction of an antiquated system of teaching. . .the Khan Academy has more than 6,300 teaching videos with precise examples; more than 10 Million users. They, as well as you and I, can learn anywhere, anytime.
THAT the Gov’t Must Be Of Laws Rather Than of Men: Ever notice how virtuous some people can be when they are not using their own money? There is no end to it. But ask them to use their own money . . . . not so much!
Thomas Jefferson, in 1788, arguing for safeguards in the Constitution and Bill of Rights, wrote one of the most prescient statements of all time: “The natural progress of things is for liberty to yield, and Gov’t to encroach”. 80,000 pages of new rules, regulations, new proposals are added every year; 358 new pages were added a week ago Monday – in just one day. 1000s of innocent behaviors are being criminalized. How can you and I know what is right or wrong today? We collectively must stand up and be counted; to make life simpler; to make it more trusting.
Let’s consider just one huge example which hurts the collective efforts of just about everyone who wants to become financially independent. It is the “too big to fail” example. This is when man decides to take from the producers and give to the rich! That is another form of transfer payments. Instead of allowing creative destruction to happen and a whole new paradigm to emerge, politicians, with no known expertise, choose who the winners and losers are going to be. That is a Gov’t of men, not law. Have you ever read anything in the Constitution that authorizes these transfers?
THAT Earth’s Greatest Treasure is Human Personality: Life is transformed by our mind – our human personality. It is up to all of us to encourage logic, reason, and self-confidence in everyone so they can become all they can be; the fear of failure is natural, we just need to learn that failure can often be the greatest learning experience in your life as long as you do not quit. The person who thinks of himself as a failure will probably live up to his expectations; we just need to change the paradigm.
THAT Service To Humanity is the Best Work of Life: When you lead by example, it inspires others to do the same. We all remember how our Mothers picked us up, wiped our tears, held us tightly, and in one way or another got us going again. Sometimes humorous. . . .unexpectedly strong. . . . often time very stern. . . . but always loving. That is how parents build character; we do the same when we show the same concern for our employees or when we contribute to causes bigger than ourselves, when we serve others. We just need to do more of it.
I apologize for sharing a personal tragedy with you. . . . .You see I have a son that is dead. . . . . I remember when he was born – he had bright shinny eyes, a tiny rosebud mouth. . . . . He reached out his tiny fists as if to say: “Papa, give me life, give me everything there is!” But today he is dead. . . . .Buried on a hill overlooking a valley, in a Paradise setting on a tropical isle. . . . .My son, not by blood. . . . but by the fact that if we accept the fatherhood of God, then we MUST accept the brotherhood of man. . . .and therein lies an awesome responsibility for each and everyone one of us. The virtues by which we choose to live our lives are very much like a garden. . . . they must be attended to every day or they will soon be lost.
John Donne in 1624 said: “Never ask for whom the bell tolls; it tolls for thee; every man’s death diminishes me because I am involved in mankind.” For America to survive long term, we all need to stand up for these virtues. And this is what we need to share with our children.
And that, ladies and gentlemen, is what that Creed did to me. Thank you.
Now let’s Rock!