Toast to Host
Inaugural is spelled inaugural.
I didn't know that - and didn't bother to use spell check.
He did know that - and didn't need spell check's services to tell him so.
I immediately felt like a mite. He was already mighty.
Late in the day late in the spring of 1999, I was sitting in the corner office on the top floor of 546 East Main Street, Lexington. Across from me, sitting in the chair between the busy desk and a picture-and-plaque-covered wall was W. James Host.
What I was doing there was considering a summer internship at the company that bears Jim Host's name. What he was doing was educating me.
Spelling was the first lesson of the afternoon.
"You know you misspelled a word here?" Host more stated than asked, after speed-reading my résumé.
I flatlined. Then managed to murmur, "Oooh nooo. Which one?"
"Inaugural. It's got a 'u' in it."
Gulp. (I probably did it audibly.) "Sorry." And I was, very. And furious. And embarrassed.
I can't recall just exactly how I chastised myself in my mind, but I remember that it was severely. To this day, I haven't forgotten how inept I felt.
For I didn't misspell any old "inagural" - which would have been bad enough alone. Nope, I went for the kill (suicide) shot, listing - under the honors section of my résumé - that I was the recipient of the "Inagural Host Communications UK Football Scholar-Athlete of the Year."
How very un-scholar-athlete-ish of me.
And talk about discrediting. I felt my 4.0 turn into its reciprocal and felt my other honors and experiences turn into Kibbles and Bits right there on the page.
Since I claimed to be a perfectionist and had a pretty good idea that Jim Host was, I fully expected the interview to end right there. A misspelling means instant death by guillotine (paper shredder) for a résumé, no matter what else appears on the sheet.
I was right and, fortunately, wrong. Jim Host was a perfectionist, yes, and he's always been and will be. But no, the interview was not over. Not because Host is a softy - no chance - but because he is an educator and he knew I had much left to learn.
And so the rest of interview/conversation that afternoon was a lesson in history and business ethics. Host, a fellow who, in his low 60s-something, scoffs at the elevator, instead taking the stairs (two at a time) up to his office, explained to me how he got to where he was/is (the founder and CEO of one of the top sports marketing firms in America) and how he has managed to stay there and thrive: integrity, industriousness, and intestinal fortitude.
And for that - his position and how he achieved it - the A.B. "Happy" Chandler Foundation awarded Host last Saturday evening with the 2001 Kentuckian Award.
The Chandler foundation was organized in 1992; its primary purpose today is to fulfill Gov. Chandler's "dream and desire" to help quality students afford a quality education. Since 1992, the foundation has provided approximately $350,000 for Kentucky high schoolers to attend the Kentucky colleges of their choice. This year, three students - one each from Sizerock, Hazard, and Cadiz - received $4,000 (renewable).
But really, the star of the show was Host. The program, held at the Marriott Griffin Gate Resort, was somewhat of a Who's Who among Kentucky political and sports personas, which was fitting, since Host has a fair share of experience in both. On hand were: Former Gov. Louie B. Nunn (whom Host worked under way back when); Senator Jim Bunning; Congressman Ernie Fletcher; Urban League-Lexington/Fayette County President Porter Peeples; Keeneland Chairman Ted Bassett, III; UK basketball Coach Tubby Smith; UK football Coach Guy Morriss; UK Athletic Director Larry Ivy; and UK's Sr. Associate AD Kathy DeBoer, who recently finished second in the running for Athletic Director at the "other" UK, the University of Kansas (their mistake).
It took four distinguished speakers, Gov. Nunn, Peeples, Dave Gavitt (Chairman of the Board of Trustees of the Basketball Hall of Fame and former Big East Conference Commissioner), and Bassett, to introduce Host. Interestingly, though, none of them spent their time praising him for his many accolades. Rather, they spoke about his character, and thus, their words rang louder, doing Host more honor.
Host hugged each of them robustly after their remarks, which I was happy to see. But what made me happier still was to hear Host's acceptance speak.
Instead of reminding us of his many great achievements, he reminded us of all those who had assisted him along the way. So many, he said, that he could never repay them for helping him get his start; so many that he was "indebted to" for helping him come so far.
The thank-you list was so long that Host, who is legendary for being exactly on schedule, had to apologize for running over his self-imposed 9:30 p.m. deadline.
But no one cared much. For this, after all, was a night to honor education, and Host was deep in the middle of another lesson.
This time, it was math. A simple equation (that many don't understand).
True Graciousness = True Greatness.
Fill me in
On July 19th Mayor Pam Miller and James Bickford, Secretary of the Kentucky Natural Resources and Environmental Protection Cabinet, celebrated a permit agreement that allows work to begin immediately on capping of a 50-plus acre landfill.
The landfill, located on Old Frankfort Pike, will cost approximately $6 million to cap. The closure will mark one of the largest environmental protection initiatives in Lexington's history.
Miller said the city has constructed the plan with the intent to reuse the land. The plan, designed by a Maryland engineering firm, calls for compacting the waste and then covering it with a layer of clay and top soil. Commonwealth Technology, a local engineering firm, is also working on the project. The cap is due to be in place by next August.
Get a job!
Sick of logging on to monster.com and coming up with a list of 487 clerical jobs in North Dakota? The Greater Lexington Chamber of Commerce has a solution to help alleviate the demands of the job hunt. When you log on to www.lexchamber.com, you are also logging on to a Central Kentucky job bank where businesses can now post job listings and search resumes of the area's top employees.
The Chamber is also looking for businesses and organizations to post job listings at Bluegrass Jobs. Member businesses and organizations can post job listings for free until Sept. 1. For more information contact the Chamber at (859) 254-4447. -LS
Twenty-eight organizations and individuals received grants totaling $100,000 in June from the Kentucky Foundation for Women for the Art Meets Activism program. The program encourages projects that are arts-centered and have long-term effects on Kentucky women. This year, over 50 applicants met the requirements. Grants that were awarded included funds for plays about immigrant women, art instruction and the development of a radio series that investigates the effects of the prison industry on at-risk youth.
Want to get in on the girl power? For more information about guidelines and applications for KFW grants, log on to www.kfw.org. -LS
Getting back to your ROOTS
In order to promote social change, Alternate ROOTS (an Atlanta-based organization of artists, cultural workers and non-profit organizations) is focusing on eight Kentucky counties for funding and collaborative art efforts.
ROOTS is seeking artists and non-arts organizations in Fayette, Bourbon, Clark, Jessamine, Madison, Montgomery, Scott and Woodford counties.
Roots on Tour: New and Non-Traditional Kentucky Presenter Collaborations will provide an opportunity for various organizations to partner with artists and become community arts presenters. Civic organizations like churches, health care facilities, rape crisis centers, housing projects, shelters and social service agencies are prime candidates for the project.
For more information and or to obtain an application, contact Laverne Zabielski (859) 293-8839 or Crystal Wilkinson (859) x22-0604. For assistance in Spanish, contact Jose Torres Tama (504) 948-4607. -LS
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