'Service before self'
As legendary basketball coach John Wooden used to say, "Sports do not build character. They reveal it." The same is true in a crisis.
Although Captain Sullenberger was labeled a hero, it's clearly not a label he is comfortable with. And that's part of what makes him so compelling. He is someone who is a master of his profession and who chalks up his success to being prepared when the situation arose. Throughout the news and Super Bowl appearances, you can see his discomfort in the public attention. He senses that he has a duty to tell the story of courage under fire to a country desperate for some good news and examples of such character.
As a fellow Air Force Academy graduate, I am proud of Captain Sullenberger for his living example of the Air Force core values: "Integrity first, service before self and excellence in all we do." It's admirable that he put himself at risk for the benefit of the passengers and crew, and that he has dedicated years to being the best at his chosen profession. Demonstrating these core values mixed in with some humility is an example we can all learn from.
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