By Rosie Johnson-Tsosie –

Once upon a time not far away lived a young boy named, Gary. Now this young boy dreamed of being a Jedi Warrior just like in the Star War Movies. He was not aware of his own powers within himself, nor was he aware that later on in years he would be transformed and mentored by many worthy elders as a young child and adult. Oh, how he dreamed of using his “light-saver” to fight for his honor and help the various Galactic Republics here on earth.

The quiet and somewhat shy Gary watched many Star War movies and collected various memorabilia throughout his younger years. His great challenge was collecting all of the Star War hero autographs and photos. He accomplished his feat all but one, Luke Skywalker played by Mark Hamill.

After 20 years, Gary finally received his most beloved autograph. As Gary waited in line for Mark’s autograph the announcement that no more autographs would be taken. Gary leaped to the head of the line and placed photo of young Mark Hamill as Luke Skywalker in the hands of Mark Hamill. “Please sign this as I’ve been waiting years for this!” Mark looked surprised and said, “Is this for your son?” Gary replied, “No, it’s for me, I’ve been waiting 20 years.”

Photos were taken of Gary and Mark to confirm that he did sign the photo. Gary so rejoiced in this goal. His patience, ability to continue his dream helped him obtain the dream come true. Was it worth it? Definitely yes! As a youth Gary dreamed and hoped of becoming a Jedi Warrior. His dream has come true.

Gary is a now Toastmaster International First Vice President. The powers within himself have developed throughout the years of developing leadership skills and being mentored along the way by many fine leaders. He has fought one of the greatest battles within himself and that is of shyness. As the story goes, Luke Skywalker becomes a stronger because of his faithful friends and leaders throughout the galaxy; so did Gary. They saw something that Gary couldn’t immediately see, a potential leader.

Yes, Gary is one of my cherished friends. He shares his knowledge and leadership skills with all that wants to know develop their leadership talents. I’ve known Gary since 1999 when we were in the Toastmaster International District Officer Training, as I call it “young Jedi’s in training.” Like Gary, through our own ambitious talents and leadership apprenticeship we are becoming the leaders for tomorrow. We need more individuals like Gary to be committed and be a visionary dreamer that makes dreams come alive.

Gary’s skills as a district leader and then two years as an International Director have given him the opportunities of a lifetime. Yet, Gary now continues dream beyond his own dreams as a young child. He is now in line for one of the highest achievements within Toastmasters, the title of President of Toastmasters International. I see Gary leading and mentoring new leaders worldwide. I do know Gary’s leadership goes far beyond Toastmasters! I’m so proud of my friend Gary! For myself, I see another side of Gary, and that is one of honor and respect. Though shy, he is respected for his wisdom.

What can I say, but, “May the Lord Be With You!”

Meditation: For God has not given us a spirit of fear, but of power and of love and of a sound mind. – 2 Timothy 1:7

You will succeed because Jesus loves You!

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