The Herald Bulletin

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Local News

May 17, 2014

Tim Kean: The gray-haired man

We have created a society that has at its core values this idea that you have the freedom to succeed with the skills you possess, if you only apply yourself.

We also project that if you aren’t “successful,” then you probably didn’t apply yourself as much as you could have.

How many of us can honestly say that we have enjoyed some success without any help from anyone else along the way? Sometimes it may be as significant as someone paying for your education, loaning you money or offering you a job when you have very lean qualifications, but is willing to “invest” in you.

It might be as subtle as a positive discussion, a word of encouragement or a ride to an interview when you don’t have one. We have a person we think of when topics like this come up.

Buck Rice was a gray-haired man with a great smile. He was responsible for the educational opportunities that existed in the ’60s at Guide Lamp Division of General Motors. He agreed to talk with me because I had told my parents that I had no desire to go to college and wanted an apprenticeship in skilled trades, my idea of the dream job for the non-professional in my hometown.

After talking to me about my ideas, he sat back in his chair and asked if I would take a trip to Indiana State University and tour the school, meet with some advisers he was connected with and consider a program that could result in getting a degree and a future in the management side of things at GM. He ended by telling me that when I got back, if I didn’t think it was a good fit, that he would discuss the apprenticeship program with me at that point.

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