Don't quit

  • Published
  • By Lt. Col. Jeff Crouse
  • 350th Air Refueling Squadron
When I was a boy, my older brother presented me with a coffee mug that had a poem on it. Initially, I didn't pay much attention to the words inscribed on the side of the non-descript mug, but since then, the poem's message has provided guidance and inspiration in my life.

The poem, "Don't Quit," by an unknown author, is a simple poem about perseverance.

Two lines, in particular, have always resonated with me when the going gets tough. The first line states, "rest, if you must, but don't you quit." Those words seem so simple, but mean so much.

The second line states, "It's when things seem worst that you must not quit." Simply put, the most challenging times are the easiest to give up on, but, if we persevere, those times are also the most rewarding. I have resorted back to those words many times and they have always served me well.

Team McConnell members deal with challenging times every day. As we embark on the eleventh year of the Global War on Terror, times are as challenging as they have ever been. The demands on members of the Air Force are not decreasing and may not be reduced in the immediate future. I don't mean to paint a bleak picture, but, instead, want to highlight an opportunity for all of us to succeed.

Falling back on the poem that has served me so well all these years, I will summarize by quoting, "While the road we are trudging may seem all uphill, rest if we must, but don't quit." We must continue to help each other find opportunities to rest when able and work together to make sure we are all capable and able to persevere.

In reality, the poem only serves to provide inspiration and does not provide the necessary tools to allow an individual to persevere. While inspiration may be the first step, there are a number of additional things we can do to help each other carry-on.

First, each member must focus on taking care of themselves to ensure they are able to survive the marathon and be useful to the team. Take time to focus on your personal needs. I focus on family, friends and fitness (spiritual, physical, and mental) to keep me strong. As individuals, if we are not ready to go, we will be a burden to the team and, in turn will not be able to contribute to the fight.

Second, teamwork and the wingman concept play an important role in ensuring that not only the individual, but also the team is able to persevere. Even though we may think we are personally ready and capable of not quitting, we all stumble along the way. This is where the team plays an important role in picking up those who stumble and helping them to continue moving forward. Take a minute to look around and help the people around you to not give up.

I am honored to work with the amazing men and women of Team McConnell. The work we accomplish everyday is nothing short of awesome. As we continue to answer our nation's call, we must ensure we continue to persevere. If we continue to strengthen our bodies and minds and work together, we will always succeed. Remember, when things get tough, as they often will, don't quit.