“If not me, then who?”
That was the overriding theme as Jimmy White IV, a fantastic and dynamic ambassador of the Travis Manion Foundation, delivered a powerful presentation to members of the Glen Mills Schools student body on March 29th. He also made an emotional connection to the recent tragic events at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School in Parkland, Florida that claimed 17 lives.
This was White’s second visit to Glen Mills representing the Foundation, which provides valuable support to families of fallen soldiers and to veterans transitioning back to civilian life. The Foundation is named after 1st Lt. Travis Manion, USMC, a decorated Iraqi War veteran who was killed by a sniper while saving two of his fellow soldiers. For his extraordinary valor, he was awarded the Silver Star and Bronze Star with Valor.
Before returning to Iraq for another tour, Manion’s brother in law jokingly said to him as they were leaving a Philadelphia Eagles game that if he “accidentally” pushed him down the steps at Lincoln Financial Field, maybe he would break his ankle and not have to deploy. 1st Lt. Manion, a Doylestown, Pa native, turned serious and asked his brother in law, “If not me, then who?” 1st Lt. Manion’s point was that he was trained and ready to go and if he did not deploy, who would go instead?
White, meanwhile, is a decorated Navy veteran and also works as a portfolio manager for Vanguard. He brought valuable lessons to the Glen Mills students during his “Character Does Matter” presentation. His visit was part of the school’s continuing Character and Leadership Development Program.
White, who was joined by his wife Theresa and his two sons Jim Jim and Joey, is impressed with the Glen Mills Schools and the student body.
“One of the cool things about this school (Glen Mills) is that there are people who care about you, people who want to help you,” White told the students.
White also had some great advice for the students.
“It’s not the mistakes that you’ve made that matters,” White explained. “It’s how you clean them up is what is important.”
During his presentation, White also referenced people he admires, which includes close friend Tom Hixon, who is in the United States Marine Corps. Hixon is the son of Chris Hixon, the athletic director and a dedicated coach at Marjory Stoneman Douglas High School who was one of the 17 victims from the February tragedy. Alerted to a code red in a different building, Hixon rushed to confront and disarm the shooter, ultimately losing his life but saving others.
White told his friend that he was going to speak at Glen Mills and asked Tom what message his father, also a Navy veteran, would want to deliver to the students. The younger Hixon felt that his father would want the Glen Mills students to treat everybody with respect and know that everyone’s actions will have consequences later. Finally, the younger Hixon felt that his father would want students to stand up for what is right- because if not you, who will?
The positive and inspiring messages resonated with the Glen Mills students.
“Mr. White certainly connected with everyone,” Glen Mills student Jackie Roberts said. “Learning about Mr. Manion’s ‘If not me, then who?’ philosophy really struck me. That’s very powerful.”