Chuck Barris died on March 21, 2017, of natural causes at his home in Palisades, New York at the age of 87. He was a friend of the Society of Professional Locksmiths. He was my friend and friends to everyone in my generation. A sweet gentle and humble man. His smile and spirit made mornings at the local deli a trip down memory lane leaving everyone smiling, happy and laughing. We will miss you Chuck.
A smile starts on the lips, a grin spreads to the eyes, a chuckle comes from the belly; but a good laugh bursts forth from the soul, overflows, and bubbles all around.
There are times in life when we all learn a lesson that we carry with us for forever. That moment in time when a light bulb goes on. The "Aha moment" of sudden realization, inspiration, insight, recognition, comprehension and impact. These are defining moments for all of us.
I had one such moment years ago while working with a sales rep named John F. Hunt. I was teaching at a PUREAuto seminar provided by Lockmasters, and John was representing Kaba- ILCO at the time. After I had given a fun seminar on marketing tactics to the crowd of professional locksmiths, John had asked me if he could contribute something to help drive some of the points made in the earlier presentation I had given.
In a humorous delivery with a twinkle in his eye and a smile on his face, John taught me a lesson I have never forgotten. He said,
"I was driving on the interstate one morning when the sportscaster announced that Churchill Downs had approved the use of mini cameras for the jockeys. He gushed that this was a first, a never before event. Thanks to modern technology each jockey would have a small camera on his cap that would transmit live video of the race. We, the fans would be that much closer to the race, we would be in the jockey seat and get to sense the starting gate, the turns, the straightaway, the jockeying for position as never before.
Much like his dad, Jason Hunt a young college student became involved in an outreach program to help kids to believe in themselves and to make sure they found themselves at the head of the pack in life. As a wilderness educator, Jason worked with teens learning to believe in themselves while on wilderness expeditions. Tragically, on October 4th, 2001, while climbing in Squamish, BC, Jason suffered traumatic cerebral soft tissue damage from which he never woke. After nine days in intensive care he died on October 13, 2001.
Through outdoor experiential education, his life was pointed on a course that brought hope, self-worth, and direction to the teens at-risk that he met. Jason entered the lives of teens with needs and focused on helping them realize their potential and worth as individuals. He was making a measurable difference in each life he touched. He was making an impact.
Walking with Jason is a quest to trace Jason’s brief life as a young man. John, Jason's father, becomes the youthful adventurer and visits Jason’s world. John seemingly falls through the looking glass and discovers a mysterious and wonderful world inhabited by troubled adolescents, craggy Thru-hikers, idealistic outdoor leaders and others who visit nature’s realm. Ultimately John’s odyssey is a very personal journey of self-discovery and gives us a compass bearing on how to deal with the sudden loss of a child.
So to all those locksmiths and manufactures who can, and I know you can! Please take the time to learn a lesson or two by getting out in front of the pack and take a Walk with Jason. Be a leader.
Learn more on how you can help supporting youth with needs through outdoor experiential education by visiting the Jason William Hunt Foundation
There are times in life when all of us need to take a step back and do some self reflection. Recently, Chicago locksmith Mike Bronzell had such a moment. As Mike lay in a hospital bed fearing the worst and being given his last rites, he called me to reach out and say what I perceived to be his farewell. I explained to Mike that he did not have my permission to go anywhere and we talked into the late night. Mike was losing his liver and kidney functions and needed a transplant. As many of you well know, getting on a list for a donor and actually getting one takes long time.
As the days past along I would call my friend Mike to keep him encouraged and all I got was an voice mail. Being a realist, I feared the worst but kept the faith. I did of course not give my permission for him to fail and that means a lot, right!? After about 3 days of calling, I get a call from Mike and he sounds like a new man...sure enough he tells me that he had been given a double organ replacement in one operation!
To say Mike was lucky is an understatement and to dismiss that an angel came down upon him and took him by the hand cannot be discounted. With the holiday season upon us, I think it is fair to say Mike was blessed. I am humbled by his good fortune and along with all the members of the Society of Professional Locksmiths we wish him a long and healthy New Year with a fresh start and new outlook on life and what really matters.
Mike Bronzell is a recognized hero within the locksmiths industry and he is credited with being the driving force behind the exposure and ultimate prosecution of several locksmith scams throughout the United States. He suffered inappropriate character attacks as well as personal litigation as a result of his tenacity at bringing this issue to the forefront.
Mike is a member of the Society of Professional Locksmiths and I applaud his strength and positive attitude. The last year has been a rough ride for him and I for one wish to thank the Angel who guided him home. You helped a lot of people Mike Bronzell, and it has come back to you in the form of an Angel....now go play LOTTO!
If anyone would like to contribute to the "PENNIES FROM HEAVEN" donations to helps support Mike during his recovery, you can use this PAYPAL Donation Button . He is a single Father raising young active boys and I am sure it will help. Every little bit helps.
See links below for more information about Mike.