Insistence on Persistence

“Never give in – never, never, never, never . . .” That was the simple advice given by Sir Winston Churchill in 1941 to the students at Harrow School.

While working together with my son, Dr. Douglas Jackson, at Project C.U.R.E. we have embarked on a familiar conversation at least a hundred times. “We don’t have all the answers to all the problems that confront us. However, we must continue to just keep showing up. We must keep showing up at the ball park every day with our baseball, bat and glove. Sometimes we will get invited to play. Occasionally, we will get up to bat. Maybe, once in a while, we will even hit a home run. But one thing is for certain, we won’t be hitting any home runs, we won’t ever get allowed up to bat, and we will probably never even be invited to play . . . if we don’t keep showing up at the ball park with our baseball, our bat and our glove.”

Early in the colorful history of Project C.U.R.E. an incident took place that shook me to the core. I had worked very hard making appointments with decision makers at hospitals and clinics throughout Denver. I had also gone to manufacturers and wholesalers of medical supplies and pieces of medical equipment. I had told them what I was doing with the new little organization called Project C.U.R.E., and that I wanted them to join me in my efforts to save the lives of thousands of people in developing countries. Many of them believed in me and what I was doing and generously opened their hearts and inventories to me. 

Their generosity, however, forced me to frantically seek additional donated warehouse space in order to store all the medical goods being donated to me. One man in Denver who operated a large medical business invited me to use some of his warehouse space in the back corner of his facility. Everything worked out pretty well and I was grateful for the help.

Then, one morning I discovered that the businessman during the nights had been stealthily slipping over the partition into Project C.U.R.E.’s space and taking for himself some of our collected goods. I then discovered that he had been selling our goods to some of his clients. One sale was in the amount of $5,000. I was shattered! When I confronted the businessman he calmly looked at me and said, “Well, those things were free to you so what are you worrying about? You didn’t lose anything.” I attempted to explain to him that those items had been given to save the lives of needy people who had no other options . . . he wasn’t just stealing some medical goods, he was stealing somebody’s life! That reasoning didn’t make a dent.

My first reactions were, “Why am I going to all this bother to try to collect and distribute these goods to save lives in foreign countries when wealthy charlatans right here in Denver steal the very things that have been donated, and all the while I am not even taking a salary for what I am doing!" Then, I recalled another one of Sir Winston Churchill’s bits of wisdom: “Success is the ability to go from one failure to another with no loss of enthusiasm.”

Instead of getting angry and discouraged and throwing in the towel, I cheerfully arranged to borrow a very large truck, went back to the man’s warehouse and quickly packed up the remaining inventory and moved it into the corner of another donated facility. How sad it would have been if I would have allowed the man’s actions to have discouraged me from returning to the “ball park” where I would be afforded many more opportunities “at bat.”

“Nothing in the world can take the place of persistence. Talent will not. Nothing is more common than unsuccessful men with talent. Genius will not. Unrewarded genius is almost a proverb. Education will not. The world is full of educated derelicts . . .The slogan, ‘press on’ has solved and always will solve the problems of the human race.”
~ Calvin Coolidg