“To give real service you must add something which cannot be bought or measured with money, and that is sincerity and integrity.” — Douglas Adams
I recently had the privilege to interview one of our outstanding retiring staff members, Harold Davis. He sat smiling in my office, humbly expressing his gratitude for his employment of more than 30 years working in our Emergency and Critical Care Service at the Veterinary Medical Teaching Hospital. He spoke in his typical soft deep voice, sounding like a self-effacing version of James Earl Jones. We recalled the many changes he lived through in our hospital including working for four different directors, the excitement of planning for our new Veterinary Medical Center, to more poignant stories of patient survival and tragic events he witnessed over the years.
Harold also warmly spoke of the many relationships he formed over time with those he worked with, consistently praising his co-workers for their talents and gift of friendships formed while doing a job he loved. What I felt most while listening to Harold was his sincerity and integrity. These traits are incorporated closely with his character, and as he spoke radiated through his caring words of advice and wisdom.
Like many of our career staff, Harold came to us with a compassionate desire to help animals and educate students. He developed his job skills and knowledge to become the manager of our Emergency and Critical Care Service. We benefited from his extensive experience in both private and university practice. Importantly, Harold also developed into an effective leader. He co-founded the Academy of Veterinary Emergency and Critical Care Technicians and is a charter member of the Academy of Veterinary Technicians in Anesthesia and Analgesia.
Over the years, Harold received many honors including the Merck AgVet Award for Creativity in Teaching and the California Veterinary Medical Association Outstanding Animal Health Technician Award. His many leadership positions and speaking awards culminated in his recognition as Speaker of the Year in 2012 for Veterinary Technicians at the North American Veterinary Conference, which he will continue to be involved with following his retirement. He is considered “a driving force” in continuing education for veterinary technicians regionally, nationally and internationally.
As we finished our conversation, I asked Harold for his advice to me as a dean. He thought for a moment, smiled broadly, and after softly chuckling, said, “be visible and continue to show that you care.” These are words that Harold lived by and revealed through his many leadership and education roles. His sincere demonstration of his integrity through his work and actions are models from all of us to consider as we look toward the future.