The following message I have for you is very difficult to write.
It is about two gentlemen that made major impacts in their respective communities. It is about two gentlemen that are now making major impacts where they are right now. For many years, they touched lots of lives and influenced many people. Today, I write about two amazing gentlemen: Herb Wells and Mike Wilson.
What can I say about these gentlemen? So many things.
Herb Wells was a powerful influence at the Engineering College in UNLV. Through the advice of former President Herbert Hoover and his son, Herb moved to Las Vegas to begin his engineering career. After working for a couple of engineering companies, Herb was asked to teach surveying class at a new school known back then as the University of Nevada, Reno - Las Vegas campus. That school later became UNLV.
From the school's conception in 1957 to earlier this year, Herb taught many students who later made an impact in the world. He had plenty of stories to tell about his life and experiences. He also gave advice to different students that was or was not related to engineering. Even when he "retired" back in 1997, he continued to share his wisdom by continuing to teach for another 13 years. Once asked, what he would miss the most about his experiences at UNLV, he simply replied "The students, of course!!"
When I was a civil engineering student, Herb was one of my advisors. He not only told me which courses I should take, but gave me different insights on them. After hearing one of my presentations that was less than "stellar," He suggested I joined something called Speechcraft - an 8 week course based on meetings that were done by Toastmasters International. From the first week, I knew that it was something that I was going to do for a long time.
When I heard that Herb had passed a month ago, I could only think of the lives he has touched for 7 decades. Without him, the engineering program at UNLV would never be the same. When I attended his memorial service last week, I saw many professors, students, alumni, family members, and other people outside of the engineering community. As we all shared stories about this man, one thing is for certain. Herb may be in another place, but his legacy will live for many years.
When Herb introduced me to Toastmasters 15 years ago, I knew that it would be something I love to do for a very long time. From then to now, I met many people within this organization. Some were beginners, others were seasoned. No matter how many people there were in this organization, no Toastmaster can make an impact quite like Mike Wilson.
It was yesterday afternoon and I was with a group of Area Governors preparing for a Division Governor's roast later that month. I checked my phone and noticed I got a message from a past District Governor. When I called her, she told me about what happened. When I first heard the news, it hit me so hard that I am still recovering from the shock as I write to you people today. Then my thoughts go to the wonderful memories I had with Mike.
If you want to know the meaning of a Toastmaster that is a true giant, look no further than Mike Wilson. He was not only a District Governor and a Distinguished Toastmaster, but also a mentor, a leader, and simply an amazing guy to be around. With his wife Kay, you can consider them to be a power couple in the Toastmasters community.
For many years, Mike has been involved with Toastmasters International. It does not matter if it was on a member, club, area, division, district, regional, or worldwide level, Mike has touched many lives in this organization. He gaves presentation that were upbeat. He also gave presentations that were also heartfelt. The one presentation I can remember was the one he recently gave at an Area Contest about fathers and sons. It moved me to the point when I thought about the times I spent with my ol' man.
Mike also took the time to help as many people as he can. No matter who you were, he was always willing to lend a helping hand. I can still remember the time when Mike, Adella Logan, and myself were sitting at a Starbucks discussing a game plan to create a new Toastmasters club. He did not only discussed the game plan, but he also took part by helping with the demo meeting and giving his first chartering party keynote presentation. This was one of many examples on the helpfulness of Mr. Wilson.
And when one thinks of Mike, how can one NOT forget about the yearly barbecue roasts that took place at the house he shared with his beautiful wife Kay? Every May, there would be a Division Governor's roast at their house. First, Mike would roast the food for everyone to enjoy. Then the Area Governors would "roast" the outgoing Division Governors. No matter the year, great times were had by all at Kay and Mike's place. This shows the welcoming spirit Mike had for people.
When I think of Mike Wilson, these are just a few things that come to my mind. Like many people inside and outside of Toastmasters, I am sure that more great memories can be shared about this man. Simliar to Herb, Mike's legacy will live for many years to come.
As I conclude this post, I give my condlences to the families and friends of Herb Wells and Mike Wilson. It is difficult to think that they are no longer with us. It is easier to realize that wherever they are, they are making their impact to more people than one can truly imagine. God bless you Herb and Mike!! Your legacies will live through the people lives you touched!! You two have done well!! Thank you.