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A Message from the President September 2020

02 Sep 2020 12:34 PM | Christopher Huys (Administrator)

Two guys are sitting on the couch. One turns to the other and says; “Did you know there a million dollars in the house next door?” The second guy reflects on that a moment and responds; “You idiot, there IS no house next door – that’s a vacant lot.” The first guy replies; “Then let’s BUILD one!”

That’s a quote from Marx. Not Karl; Groucho. What does that have to do with anything? Everything. It says a lot about leadership.  You’d have to say Groucho was the leader of the Marx Brothers. Why? Well, one reason is that Groucho defined the reality of whatever situation they were in. And that’s an attribute of a leader: they define the reality for the group. They make the possible seem easy and the seemingly impossible a potentially-attainable goal. They break new ground. They chart paths.

Each of you is, by definition, a leader. The idea for the FBI Citizens Academy involves bringing community leaders together in order to support and further the mission of the FBI. You all were invited to participate in the CA class. Ergo, you are leaders. You are dreamers, planners, organizers... You chart paths that others will follow. And you are aware that these are tough times for leaders, and all those who strive to make a difference in their community. We are constrained by the Covid-19 pandemic and by the need to keep ourselves, our family, and our community safe and healthy. So we wait. And we hope. If there’s a positive to take from these times, it’s that I suspect that we’re getting closer every day to the point where a vaccine is approved and made widely available, and perhaps that a therapeutic answer for the virus will be determined to be safe and effective. Soon, we hope and pray…soon.

Meanwhile, it would be appropriate to single out a couple of folks for their demonstrated leadership. One is Tim Johns. Tim, a board member, is involved in scouting along with his kids. He took the initiative to invite our SAC, Johnnie Sharp, to speak to his scout troop, and the SAC graciously accepted. He attended and the results were excellent. Kudos to Tim and SAC Sharp. An article and photos will follow.

And the other is Dr. Joe Popinski. Joe is about to rotate off the chapter’s Board (again), and will also be leaving the post of BMAP coordinator for North Alabama. Joe doesn’t do much for us; he’s only been active longer than any other Board member, where he has served multiple terms, has been the initiator of our Tech Committee, wrote position descriptions for our officers, edited our chapter’s by-laws, serves on the FBI CAAA’s National Board of Directors, has served as sage advisor to essentially every President we’ve ever had (I think)…other than that, he’s just loafed. Apart from his family, friends, and church involvements, of course. I joke, but the fact is that Dr. Joe has been the beating heart of this chapter for as long as I can remember. When we’ve needed something done, a hand has always shot up to volunteer to help, and that hand has most frequently been attached to Joe’s arm. All officers’ terms end, all Board members rotate off…none of us is irreplaceable. No one. Except perhaps Dr. Joe Popinski. Joe – heartfelt thanks for all you do and have done for us. Joe says he will remain an active member of the chapter, thank goodness. And Joe -- don’t think for one moment I won’t be consulting you. And my successor(s), too. Dr. Joe is like that house next door – he’s worth a million dollars.

Be safe; be well. We’ll see you soon.

--- Paul H. Franklin, President

            The FBI Birmingham Citizens Academy Alumni Association (FBIBCAAA) is a nonprofit organization separate and apart from the FBI.

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