Your Top 10 List and Medal of Honor Recipient Sal Giunta

Ever made a list of the Top 10 Best Things, important things, you’ve done in your life? Go ahead – try it. And it doesn’t matter whether they’re personal or professional. (I’ll wait while you finish. Tick, tick, tick, tick…) So, was it easy or hard to come up with 10? It may be hard to take credit for some things. We might say, “I just did what anyone would do under the circumstances.”

Humility. That’s what Salvatore “Sal” Giunta exuded as he shared the story of an event that has to be on his Top 10 List. He was a keynote speaker at the Leadership Program of the Rockies Retreat I attended last week.

Salvatore Giunta Medal of Honor Recipient

Sal is a former United States Army soldier and the first living person since the Vietnam War to receive the U.S. military’s highest decoration for valor, the Medal of Honor. Giunta was cited for saving the lives of members of his squad on October 25, 2007 during the War in Afghanistan.

Watch 60 Minutes Interview (video)

Giunta’s squad was ambushed by Taliban insurgents. After being struck by a barrage of bullets, Giunta administered first aid to his fallen squad leader and covered him with his own body. Discovering two rebels carrying away one of his comrades, he engaged the enemy, rescued the soldier and provided aid.

Yep, I’d say that would make it to anyone’s Top 10 List, wouldn’t you?

And yet, he’s quite humble about it. He believes that Medal also belongs to every soldier in his squad.

He writes in his book, Living with Honor, “I am not a hero. I’m just a soldier.”

You are a soldier too. You go into battle each day for causes, co-workers, customers, constituents, friends and family. Sometimes you fight for strangers who have no ability to stand up for themselves.

Some of you, like Sal, have been injured in the process. But you don’t let that get in the way of doing what’s right. You don’t use it as an excuse for not “engaging.”

I commend those of you who keep the bigger picture in mind, recognize the risk of doing nothing and forge ahead despite disappointment and frustration.

It IS worth it. Believe me, we’re with you. 

You need not be a Medal of Honor Recipient to have an impact.

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Comments? Feel free to email me your Top 10 List. Here is mine:

  • Enlisting in the USAF and serving seven years
  • Three great children (and two grandchildren)
  • Attending Leadership Program of the Rockies (Class of 2010)
  • Moving to Colorado to be with family
  • Buying a cabin in the woods (yep, even despite the wildfire)
  • Learning how to create/manage my own website, video, audio & SEO
  • Learning how to hunt elk
  • Ability to do work that makes a positive difference in people’s lives
  • Voting
  • Living in the USA