As we look back, each of us has someone whose presence has had a great impact on our lives. For me, one of those people was my father-in-law, Lloyd Thompson. For the past thirty+ years, I have watched and learned from this wonderful man who set the standard for me to follow.
Family and Friends
Lloyd was all about family and friends. Whenever anyone was in need, he was the first to step forward. I’ve seen him spend countless hours helping others with building and repair projects or any other type of needed assistance. It didn’t matter what the need was, all you had to do was ask and he was on his way.
Likewise, whenever Lloyd needed a helping hand, people came out of the woodwork. I remember a time when he wanted to raise his cabin, which stood on the bank of the Mississippi River. Already about ten feet in the air, he needed to elevate it even higher so that flood waters would be less likely to find their way inside. When the word got out that Lloyd needed help, an incredible throng showed up. But a cabin-raising was more that work, for Lloyd. It was an event and a beautiful thing to watch. Sure, everyone worked hard, but it was incredible to watch the smiling faces and to hear the laughter as this mass of people set out to take on such a monumental task. It was happy work, and he made it that way.
It was common knowledge that any party for Lloyd, whether to celebrate his birthday or one of his many anniversaries for marriage to my mother-in-law, was a large affair. Friends and family would come from miles around. Like everything about Lloyd, his celebrations were bigger than life with great music and adult beverages for the guys who were into that.
He loved being with his children and his many grandchildren and great-grandchildren. Christmas was an especially important time for him. I remember how his face would light up at that special time of year. He just glowed, knowing that his family came together for such a family affair.
I learned from Lloyd that above all else, family and friends are most important and I aspire to be the husband, father, family man, and friend that he was.
Lloyd wasn’t always a patient man, but over the years, he developed the patience of a saint. It often puzzled me how when other people were near panic, Lloyd quietly listened and seemed unfazed, reserving his opinion. He grew to understand that in the grand scheme of things, most crises were small and would soon be forgotten.
Even though I still struggle to be patient and to understand what is truly important, I often think of him and admire his ability to know when to speak and when to remain quiet. I am a work in progress. Lloyd is my role model.
Hard work and team matter
Lloyd was one of the hardest working individuals I’ve ever known. As a project manager/supervisor for a large mechanical contracting firm, he had very demanding expectations of his crew. There was no tolerance for slackers and every person had better pull his or her weight. That included one of his sons, who worked for Lloyd. At the corporate office, it was common knowledge that his crew always got the work done and that promises were kept. His word was always good.
Each of his crew members loved him, too. They knew that because of Lloyd, they were better. Sure, he was a hard driver with very high expectations, but they functioned as a team and Lloyd was their coach. Spread across a huge construction site, he always made a point to personally see each person every day. On the jobsite, the team always came first.
Lloyd’s passion for hard word and team are reflected in my life, too. My goal, as a business owner, is to see to it that every member of the Brand Acceleration team knows that they are part of something big. Not necessarily a big company, but one that represents very high standards and dedication to each other and to our clients. Our expectations are very high and our word is always good.
Love of Country
A Korean War veteran who risked his life as part of an engineering unit, Lloyd had an unwavering love of country. While serving, he often put his life in danger, clearing the way for roads and bridges and driving the slowest possible escape vehicle available…a bulldozer. He and his brothers personally saw the tragedy of war and witnessed the sacrifice of the many who served so that people back home could live free. As a young child, Lloyd heard the stories of one of his brothers after returning home from World War II. Having been taken prisoner, he suffered unimaginable tortures that would haunt him for the rest of his life. Lloyd, too, never forgot.
From Lloyd’s contribution and passionate love of country, I learned to appreciate the costly price paid for what I have today. For his service and for all who served and still serve, I fly the American flag at the front of my home as a statement and a personal reminder.
On May 11, 2011, Lloyd Thompson passed away knowing that his loving family was at his side. Attending his funeral was a large gathering of family and friends who came to pay their respects, celebrate his life, and say goodbye. I was especially moved when one elderly gentleman, about Lloyd’s age, stepped up to the casket, did his best to stand at attention, and cast a firm and well-deserved salute.
In my eyes, Lloyd, you were a giant. Your impact will live on in all you touched.