Its December 22nd – Sue is inside TARGET getting some last minute shopping done before we break for the holidays; I’m right outside in the car listening to Christmas music with what seems like 1,000 thoughts racing through my mind. Amidst the overcast sky there’s a chill in the air and the wind is blowing briskly as I watch parents with their young children walking in and out of the store. As I see happiness on their faces I can’t help but think of the horrific killing of 20 six and seven year old children at Sandy Hook Elementary School just the week prior. In so many ways what happen is worse than 9/11. I think of their families, the children who survived and the 6 teachers who died trying to save them and their classmates. I think of the brave parent Robbie Parker who lost his 6-year old daughter Emilee and with tears in his eyes offered not only his condolences to the shooters family, but his love and support to them as well. This tragedy is pure heartbreak and when taken into perspective makes whatever struggles we face personally and/or in business seem minuscule by comparison. Like any adversity we face in our lives, our faith strengthens our resolve to move forward. Why does it take something so awful to shake our society and bring people together? Suddenly there are no democrats or republicans. Neither are there conservatives or liberals. You can’t distinguish between Protestants, Catholics, Jews or any other religion for that matter. Looking around and you can’t find whites, blacks, Latinos or Asians. Suddenly, we are all one even it is for a brief moment in time. We realize how fragile life is and bond with others regardless of their ages, race, religion, politics, gender, and however else society separates us. In the wake of Newtown, we are all parents with heartbreak. It’s times like this that we must all return to the basics giving thanks to God for all of our blessings. And with iPad in hand and a tear or two in my eyes, I begin my Presidents Letter for 2012 hoping that whatever holiday you celebrate, that you and your family had a great one filled with happiness, laughter and love.
It seems like it was just a blink of the eye and there we were starting Tax Season 2012. While each Tax Season is in and of itself unique, the inescapable common denominators are hard work combined with long hours sprinkled in with laughter, camaraderie and a “race to the finish line”. In the final analysis we prevailed, but clearly it was a hard fought battle which challenged us to the limit. In my blog – Carlozo’s Corner Volume 2, Number 2, May 21, 2012 – THE-LUCKIEST-GUY-IN-THE-WORLD-TAX-SEASON-2012-EPILOGUE – I would go on to write about it. https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/05/21/the-luckiest-guy-in-the-world-tax-season-2012-epilogue-volume-2-number-2-may-21-2012/.
In late January I was deeply saddened to learn of the passing of my college football coach, Joe Paterno. We had just finished the filming of THE JOE WE KNOW (TJWK) www.grandexperiment.org ; http://vimeo.com/37728569 which was meant to be a belated birthday surprise to him. Unfortunately, he never had the chance to see it as he died 3 days after filming wrapped. In just 12 days over 70 former players in 5 different cities (New York, Pittsburgh, State College, Philadelphia and Baltimore) were interviewed (40 minutes) with the end result a one-hour documentary film. During this time I would go on to meet players from six different decades, Subsequently, I wrote THE JOE I KNEW in my blog – Carlozo’s Corner Volume 2, Number 1, February 6, 2012. https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/02/07/the-joe-i-knew-volume-2-number-1-february-6-2012/. Amidst all of the media frenzy up until that point, and all that followed with the eventual issuing of The Freeh Report in July, I would not be surprised by judgments and/or opinions, nor would I be offended. First and foremost, the children here will never be forgotten. Still, as much as I read (and I have read a great deal on this matter) questions remained as there was no due process (a right each of us are entitled to) for Coach Paterno that I could see; in the final analysis the story as reported strongly indicated a rush to judgment. Keep in mind there was only a short period of time (approximately 2 1/2 months) from his firing as Penn State’s head coach until his death. Then it all came together when reading PATERNO by Joe Posnanski, a Christmas gift from son Joe and his wife Emily. While there was a myriad of politics beneath the surface, and for the most part unknown by the general public, it was nevertheless real. Still, I remained convinced that Coach Paterno wanted the truth to come out. Eventually, I strongly believe that the facts will support there was no cover up but rather a desire by the media to sensationalize a story. At his memorial, his son Jay led the gathering in a reading of Joe’s favorite prayer (The Lord’s Prayer) from way back in the day until his final game in October 30, 2011. It was recited after every game. In Jay Paterno’s words, “He loved it – not so much for religious reasons but for the words. Look. The Lord’s Prayer uses the words “us” and “we” and “our”. It does not use the word “I” or “me” or “mine”. Paterno understood – It was a team prayer.” At that point, it all came rushing back to me as 24 years ago I penned our Firm’s MISSION STATEMENT. On many occasions since then, I have been on record that the word “WE” is used seven times and you will not find the use of the words “I” “me” or “my”. Clearly, this didn’t happen by pure coincidence and without realizing it, I really didn’t think of these building blocks on my own – the principles and foundation of TEAM had been instilled many years prior without any notice or fanfare – it was a part of the Penn State football culture.
During our post tax season getaway to Myrtle Beach, Sue and I would drive north 3 1/2 hours to attend our daughter Nicole’s Graduation from Duke University’s Master Program in Environmental Management. We were so proud of Nicole and so happy to learn that in a short 3 months later she would relocate in Annapolis working through the MD Department of Natural Resources. Nicole had taken all of her God given talents and abilities and used them to her fullest extent. On reflecting on Nicole’s accomplishments, I would go on to write about it in my Blog Carlozo’s Corner – GOOD ENOUGH. Volume 2, Number 3, July 5, 2013. https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/07/05/good-enough-volume-2-number-3-july-5-2012/
After returning home from Myrtle Beach, I would first volunteer time to give back joining up with a handful of former Penn State football players – you can read about it here:
http://rainn.org/news-room/12-year-old-raises-more-than-10000-for-RAINN#.UODZJ5aX6SU.twitter. From Washington DC, Sue and I would begin to get ready for our son Joe’s wedding to Emily just outside of Downingtown PA. It was a great day; afterwards, I would write about it in my Blog – Carlozo’s Corner Volume 2, Number 5, September 4, 2012 – A REFLECTION BACK, A LOOK AHEAD – AND THEY LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER. https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/09/04/a-rflection-back-a-look-ahead-and-they-lived-happily-ever-after-volume-2-no-5-september-4-2012/
Sadly, as much as we had hoped and prayed for a miracle, Pop would not be able to attend as he remained bedridden; in April it will be 5 years. As we had entered tax season, he was hospitalized and released under hospice care, yet somehow 4 weeks later he miraculously began eating again. While it admittedly gets harder to visit him and see his pain, his refusal to quit borders on the unbelievable and his strength finds its way to my heart and soul. He will always be with me.
Corvettes at Carlisle http://www.carsatcarlisle.com/events/corvettes/ was much quieter this year Sue and I were on our own as Joe and Emily were away on their honeymoon and Jessica was not able to make it. Still, there’s nothing quite like getting to the fairgrounds around 7:00 A.M. and feeling the peacefulness of the moment as the Vettes from all generations slowly start to find their way in. The weather was outstanding and the parade in downtown Carlisle was simply awesome. If you have never been to Corvettes at Carlisle I again encourage you to plan a day to just walk around and have fun. As the 2013 – 60th anniversary Vette was introduced, the word was mum on the C7 (the 7th generation Corvette) which was introduced at the North American International Auto Show (commonly referred to as The Detroit Auto Show) on January 13, 2013. All I can say is this car is awesome!!!!! http://www.chevrolet.com/new-2014-corvette. The timing couldn’t be better as word has it that the federal government is about to sell its shareholdings of GM stock within the next 12 to 15 months – YEAH!!! http://www.usatoday.com/story/money/business/2012/12/19/gm-stock-treasury-buyback/1779191/. Speaking of The Detroit Auto Show, Sue and I had joined a group of Vette enthusiasts in January 2004 when the C6 was introduced as a 2005 model. It was a memorable event and helped us to better understand how special an upscale car show could be. If you ever have the chance to go – do it!!!!
As we turned the corner in fall, all of us were faced with a hard fought presidential election. Regardless of your political affiliation, the discord in Washington combined with the budget deficits are disconcerting to say the least. Reflecting on the right to vote, I penned a blog Carlozo’s Corner Volume 2, Number 6, September 10, 2012 – EVERY DAY IS ELECTION DAY https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/09/10/every-day-is-election-day-volume-2-no-6-september-10-2012. Just before the election, a bunch of us in the office joined in walking in The Race For The Cure. It was a beautiful Sunday morning in Hunt Valley in which we joined together as a TEAM on a different field. http://www.carlozo.com/Our-Company/In-the-Community/
When the kids were growing up, annual trips to Hershey were always on the agenda. We have so many fond memories of Hershey Park, Chocolate World and spending the nights in “The Sweetest Place on Earth”. To celebrate my 60th (can you believe it) birthday this year, Sue suggested that just the 2 of us spend the weekend at The Hershey Lodge. It was a great idea and I should have realized that she had a something up her sleeve when the next Saturday morning, Jess, Nicole and Joe and his new wife Emily surprised me at Chocolate World. It just doesn’t get any better as we would spend the rest of the day together as a family. While we were all older, it really didn’t matter; it was a memory that would last forever.
Whenever I see our group at work do things together as a team, it always brings a smile to my face. This December Tina and Kelly had had come up with the idea of decorating and donating a Christmas tree for the benefit of the Kennedy Krieger Institute Festival of Trees. Using a McDonald’s theme, local Owner/Operators Tom and Jean Hayden were so kind and generous to donate a vast array of decorations. Besides working together, the sale of our tree raised over $300 for Kennedy Kreiger. http://www.carlozo.com/Our-Company/In-the-Community/
As many of you know, I very much enjoy writing. I find it relaxing and very much therapeutic. It is my small attempt to inspire others and make a difference in the complicated world in which we all live. During 2012 I continued the tradition started in 2011 and in addition to the Blogs mentioned above, I continued on writing on a variety of topics:
IF YOU WANT TO CHANGE YOUR WORLD – Volume 2, Number 4, July 23, 2012 https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/07/23/if-you-want-to-change-your-world-volume-2-number-4-july-23-2012/
GO AHEAD – MAKE MY DAY – Volume 2, Number 7, October 5, 2012 https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/10/08/go-ahead-make-my-day-volume-2-number-7-october-5-2012/
WHAT DO YOU SEE WHEN YOU LOOK IN THE MIRROR – volume 2, Number 8, November 23, 2012 https://carlozocompany.wordpress.com/2012/11/26/what-do-you-see-when-you-look-in-the-mirror-volume-2-number-8-november-23-2012/
In signing off, please take this time to remember the victims and their families of Newtown. Let’s all work together in making the world in which we live a better place for everyone. If we can as human beings stop bickering, maybe we can set an example for those in Washington who represent us. It shouldn’t take a tragedy to bring us together as a nation; we are all children of God. Life is so fast-paced, make time to smell the roses and share our time unselfishly with others. Along the way be kind to everyone you meet and remember that it doesn’t take a whole lot to make someone’s day www.justbenice.com. You can change your world if you are ready to change your words and change your thoughts. “Bad thinking” is nothing more than a “bad habit” – reverse the process. “The Law of Learning” is simply “repetition” so get into the “good habit” of practicing “The Most Important Voice You Hear is Your Own” making certain that you are broadcasting positive thoughts of faith, hope and love. If you are not listening to the right radio station make a slight adjustment and tune into WJOE broadcasting live 24/7 from greater downtown Timonium. I’ll be there cheering you on. Keeping that in mind, I wish you a Happy, Healthy and Prosperous 2013!!!
Have a GREAT day!!!! May God Bless you and your families!!!!
Joseph V. Carlozo (Joe)