Last Modified: Wednesday, January 30, 2013 9:34 AM
On May 7, 2007, Lt. Col. Greg Gadson’s vehicle was struck by a roadside bomb in Iraq, lifting his 15,000-pound vehicle off of the ground and ejecting him into darkness.
Another soldier found him unconscious in a pool of blood nearly 100 meters from where the vehicle stopped.
By wrapping tourniquets around his bleeding legs, his “teammates” saved his life that night. And the attack would lead to both of his legs being amputated.
With his darkest days behind him, Gadson shared the importance of teamwork and how it saved his life with nearly 1,000 people at the 109th annual Chamber Southwest Louisiana banquet Tuesday night at the Civic Center.
Those “trying moments” taught him the importance of people coming together for a greater cause, said Gadson, the keynote speaker.
He told those in attendance that three words have resonated after overcoming hardship: pride, poise and teamwork.
“Pride begins with you as individuals,” he said. “Pride is about self-accountability. It is about living and doing right.”
It is easy to do well when there are good days, but it’s the bad days that define us as individuals, he said.
“When everybody does that — you will create a synergy that is unimaginable,” he said.
Poise is the “proverbial grace under fire,” he said.
“Poise doesn’t come out of thin air,” he said. “It is your collective action ... of doing what the cause needs.”
And if there is any word Gadson would want on his gravestone, it would be “team,” he said.
“We’re all here because we understand there is a higher cause — a higher responsibility — that this life we live is not about ourselves, but it is about something greater than us,” he said.
He urged those in attendance to practice “selflessness over selfishness.”
“Our success will be tied to what we are doing to help the team — not ourselves,” he said.
Other highlights of the banquet included the passing of the gavel from 2012 chairman Bill Monk of Stockwell Sievert Law Firm to 2013 chairman Ben Bourgeois of Turner Industries. The 2012 Volunteer of the Year Award was presented to Erin Davison of Business Health Partners, and the Civic Service Award was presented to Jennie Finch-Daigle.