Soldiers, Families pack Exchange for Powell book signing
Heather Graham-Ashley, Sentinel News EditorRetired Gen. Colin Powell said today’s generation of Soldiers and their Families is the greatest generation. Judging by the turnout for his appearance at Fort Hood, the feeling is mutual.
Thursday, June 21, 2012
More than 800 Fort Hood Soldiers and Family members braved long lines for retired Gen. Colin Powell’s book signing Friday at the Clear Creek Exchange.
Sgt. 1st Class Lisa Woods came to the Exchange to get a copy of the former secretary of state’s tome for her 13-year-old daughter because she wants the teen to know about the former Army and diplomatic leader.
“He took us through a lot and was always there for the Soldiers and their Families,” Woods said about Powell. “I want her to know about the man who helped protect mom while she was down range.”
An hour before the 11 a.m.-1 p.m. book signing, the line was already snaking through the Exchange store as Soldiers, Family members and retirees waited to see the retired general and former secretary of state and chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff.
By the end of the appearance, the Exchange sold more than 1,300 copies of “It Worked for Me: In Life and Leadership,’” Robinn Parker, office assistant, Fort Hood Exchange, said.
The book, Powell’s second, details the retired general’s 13 Rules for leadership as well as a collection of stories spanning Powell’s early years through his service as secretary of state under President George W. Bush.
“It’s just a book of stories, 44 chapters and each chapter stands alone” Powell said before the start of the signing. “As I assembled the stories, they were mostly military stories, so I expanded some of the lessons up to apply to major corporations, and I expanded some of them down so some of these lessons of how you should get along in the military reflect how you should get along in life.”
He said the book is compiled to apply to a broad audience, from teens to older generations. Powell’s appearance at Fort Hood was part of his month-long book tour.
This visit marked his first to the Great Place since 1989. As the then-Forces Command commander, Powell came to Fort Hood following a microburst that destroyed some homes in housing and damaged a number of helicopters. Powell was here to see what could be done to help.
“A few weeks later, I was announced to be the next chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff,” he said.
Powell said he was impressed with the post by the brief glimpse he caught on the way in to the installation, noting all of the construction and improved facilities for Soldiers and their Families.
The retired general’s message for the troops and their Families is one of gratitude.
“The last 10 years have been very, very demanding on our force,” he said. “Every speech I give, I give praise to the young men and women and their Families we have serving the nation today. They’re doing a great job. They’re as great a generation as any generation we’ve had.”
Although he retired from the Army 19 years ago and has largely left the national spotlight after his term as secretary of state, Powell continues to leave an impact on many.
Wesley and Adi Fink have always liked Powell, but his latest book really hit home for them because of one of the former chairman of the Joint Chiefs’ rules: “never let them see you sweat.”
Adi even knows the page on which the rule falls.
“Page 22,” she said.
That rule was the motto of Wesley’s friend, 1st Lt. Mark Noziska, who was killed Aug. 30, 2010, in Afghanistan of wounds suffered when insurgents attacked his unit with an improvised explosive device.
They will send one of the signed books to Noziska’s parents.
Meeting Powell and telling him about Noziska and the rule was emotional for Adi.
“He’s one of those people you read about in history but never expect to meet,” Adi said about Powell.
Marquitta Jennings, who moved to Fort Hood three weeks ago, had Powell sign a flyer announcing the book-signing appearance and said this was the most important event she has attended.
“I still follow him through the news,” Jennings, who attended with Woods, said.
Woods made sure she was in line to get her book signed so she could pass Powell’s stories to her daughter.
“He is a four-star general, and an African-American role model,” Woods said. “He’s someone to pattern yourself after.”