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Generous Leadership® and the Colorado Air National Guard

Group of students in front of an airplane

Generous Leadership® is “abundantly giving of yourself so that others may be better people who do better work.” We believe one of the very best examples of generous leadership® is none other than our nation’s service men and women, especially the volunteers of Colorado’s Air National Guard who serve in our own backyard.

On August 15th, Big Idea Project and Holy Family HS’s State team “Friends of Fosters,” and their parents, were invited to Buckley Air Force Base to meet and learn from some of the team members of the 140th Wing of the Colorado Air National Guard.

Colonel Patrick “Scrounger” Hanlon and Major Kinder Blacke welcomed and graciously hosted our students with the intent to show them what generous leadership® means to them. The students were the center of attention, engaging in conversations and experiencing first-hand some of what these service members engage in on a daily basis.

The students’ experience included a personal flight show as they watched F-16’s take off from the end of the runway, close enough to feel and hear the power of their engines. Col Hanlon taught students about the F-16, the work of a fighter pilot and how the fighter pilots put ultimate trust (ie: their lives) in the hands of team members working in maintenance, life support and other critical support roles.

The morning finished with a lunch with leaders and a question and answer session with Col Hanlon himself, who shared some personal stories and experiences that further defined generous leadership® for the students.

One student summed up her experience, “From the stories told by the hard working individuals at the base, I couldn’t stop smiling. Everyone there was polite, driven, loving, and the most generous individuals I had ever met. I hope to someday rise to become a leader that takes on similar characteristics of those incredible individuals. I hope to someday become as giving and caring as them, but I would have never opened my eyes if it wasn’t for this gift you had given our team. You helped me to discover what it means to be a part of something bigger than myself for the benefit of others.”

Big Idea Project is honored to play a part in developing young leaders, inside and outside of the classroom.

Col Hanlon, thank you for giving so much of your time and for sharing your heart with our students. Thank you Maj Kinder Blacke for your over-the-top hospitality and organization. Thank you to Tracy LaTourette, Colorado’s First Lady Fighter Pilot, for the stories and your passion to pour into young leaders. And, most of all, thank you Cap (Ret) Aimee Zick and Improve Group for making this experience possible. It takes a village to raise up a generous leader.