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What's most important to you?

EIELSON AIR FORCE BASE, Alaska -- Take a moment or two and just think about those things in your life that you value most. What do you hold near and dear to your heart, more than anything else? 

Don't just stop with the first thing that pops into your head. Think hard about it. Rack and stack those things and then determine what's at the top of your list. Is it your spouse? Your children? Faith? What about your car or motorcycle? Maybe it's flying airplanes, riding all-terrain vehicles or snow machines. Hunting? Fishing? Whatever it is that you treasure most, commit a picture of it to memory.

Now that I've got you thinking, when was the last time you thought about that object, person or activity which you most cherish? Do you ever think about it while on the job? Or while driving home at the end of the day? 

Some of us are masters of compartmentalizing and can keep our minds from straying from the task at hand, while others effectively multitask and are reminded often of the things that personally motivate them. No matter if we compartmentalize or multitask, those things we value most are only a thought away.

The Air Force values its personnel more than anything else. People are more precious than technologically advanced aircraft, missiles or satellites. Whether officer, enlisted or civilian, each member of the Air Force family plays an important role in protecting the security of our nation. 

The Air Force has made a substantial investment in each one of us. We owe it to our nation and to the Air Force to be ready to carry out the mission, anytime and anywhere. In order to do so, each of us must be proactive in managing risk as we confront hazards on a daily basis. For the majority of the time, most folks make smart decisions and take the appropriate action to mitigate risk. Whether we consciously think about it or not, we regularly employ the tenets of personal risk management, and do the right thing. 

But what about those times when we fail to make smart decisions? When we are in a hurry and take short cuts. When we don't think about the consequences of not following the rules. In those situations, what is it that will put us back on the path toward smart decision-making? 

Whenever you have the slightest feeling that you shouldn't be doing what you are about to do, picture that object that you value most. And if for no other reason, do what's right not because you have to, but because you want to so that you can continue to enjoy that which you cherish. If you do so, you will make a difference in your life and in the lives around you. At the same time, you will help keep us on track to attaining our 101 Critical Days of Summer Campaign goal of zero fatalities.