MARINE CORPS AIR STATION YUMA, Ariz. -- More than 200 Marines and civilians gathered in the chapel Jan. 22, some of whom may have thought they were having a bad day up until that point.
The speaker at the chapel that day, retired Air Force Col. Edward Hubbard, let the people in the audience in on a secret: there's no such thing as a bad day.
The audience was there to hear Hubbard's presentation on the positive abilities that humans possess. Hubbard, who had been a prisoner of war in Vietnam for more than six and a half years, travels across the country promoting the ideals in his book, "Escape from the Box: The Wonder of Human Potential."
When his jet was shot down over Vietnam in 1966 and he became a prisoner of war, he thought at the time that he was having a bad day. After learning how to survive through the mental and physical stresses of the prison camp, though, Hubbard learned that it's not what happens to you, but how you react to obstacles that is important.
Hubbard's message seemed to be well-received by those in the audience, who took his words to heart.
"Overall it was a good learning experience because I got the chance to learn more about the struggles that prisoners of war have gone through, and how they were able to do anything to survive," said Lance Cpl. Francisco Roman, station pass and identification clerk. "You think about how much worse things can be and in turn be optimistic about our situations."
"I was totally focused on Col. Hubbard's every word because of the message he conveyed to all of us," said Kathleen "Kappy" Bickel, station manpower manager. "His passion to reach people, to have them understand that we will never reach our potential unless we try, that we need to continuously improve and need to stretch ourselves above and beyond, are words I will not forget."
The station and the Civilian Career Leadership Development program invited Hubbard to speak to Marines and civilian workers on the station, and Hubbard agreed to the delight of Bickel and Nancy Krill, CCLD and Transition Assistance Program manager, who were instrumental in coordinating the presentation.
"Everyone I spoke with has reacted in a positive manner with gratitude for this type of training," Bickel said. "Individuals related that they came away with many challenging thoughts as to the direction in which they need to go."
Hubbard's message can be used in making organizations more efficient, a subject with which he has experience. After returning to full duty in the Air Force, then-Maj. Hubbard turned around a floundering safety organization, one that had low expectations and even lower results. In a few short months after receiving his assignment Hubbard had transformed the safety department into the most efficient organization in the unit.
"We can apply (these) same concepts in our workplace if we all work for the mission of the station as a whole not just what's in it for us or our own department but as a whole, we can achieve more than we ever imagined," Bickel said. "Col. Hubbard's words of wisdom and challenges may give some individuals a whole new approach to life."