Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Appreciation, and another Lowe's Day at "the Num"

First comment, there is a price to be paid when asking your NCO to take pictures for you: his penchant for the self-portrait illustrated above. Nice, Timmy!

We finished up a training cycle this week- it was a big hairy deal- which makes that a post in itself. But prior to that, we spent some time showing each other some love. Not the feared "man love Thursday" kind of love that some of us have had the misfortune of encountering out here, but some appreciation for the work that folks are doing.

As other U.S. officers have shown me, our Iraqi counterparts like to give and exchange gifts. I have a large collection of watches now, a saber (still thinking about how to get that home...), and many patches and other things exchanged with my National Police colleagues.

But even more so than gifts, they seem to crave praise and recognition in a way I've never encountered elsewhere. I am constantly bombarded with requests for certificates of recognition or achievement, letters of recommendation, etc. Most of them, though, are frankly for folks just doing their job- nothing exceptional, and often times for a job that might take a week or so.

But it was time, in this past week, having pushed my counterpart General Sabar and his three battalion commanders, since mid-November (and the General since May last year), to let them know I appreciated them. So they got letters and they got certificates. And I couldn't resist asking them for the same- they are higher ranking officers than me, after all. They smiled at my joke.And then I shifted into gift mode. I don't have tons of good gifts, but I did receive a care package from my Lowe's teammates in the Talent Management Department (thanks, Cynthia et al.!). I kept most of the food for myself- mmmmm. Food. But I did receive some trinkets that I was able to share with both the Iraqi National Police and the BLP contractors.

General Sabar now has the t-shirt and hat of a NASCAR Champion- JJ now has a fan who works at An Numaniyah and hails from Nasiriya. We're taking the sport of driving in left-turn circles to the middle East, baby!

Each of the colonels has their own Lowe's can holder, so soda will never be the same for them.

And they, along with some of the management staff of BLP, now have those cool pens that light up with different colors in fluid on the top from the Performance and Development Plan program. Man, I love those pens.

And of course, the expats love to play poker- and Lowe's is there for them.

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