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Article -> Remembrance of Those Who Serve Others

Date Added: January 2019

We will soon celebrate Martin Luther King Jr. Day which causes reflection about Jim Rivett who embraced this day wholeheartedly. Jim died by suicide five months ago, and his love, generosity, compassion and servanthood live on.

Annually in commemoration of Martin Luther King Jr. Day, Jim led efforts to create posters for school classrooms. The free posters celebrated messages from Dr. King messages of respect, diversity, peace and love. Jim exuded his time and creativity for the posters, as well as using it as a learning opportunity.

My wife is a school psychologist and she would anticipate the poster each year, and relish when others would ask where she got it. She would tell people about Jim, what he represented and why the world needed more people like him.

The list of community efforts from Jim is long, and anyone who knew him knows this. There is not enough space in this column to inventory all he did. Even if he did nothing in the community, sitting with Jim was enough as he always gave himself.

For those who read my articles, there is a theme of service. It relates to first knowing yourself. Your strengths, gifts and passions. It moves to holistic leadership of setting goals for yourself, at work, at home/family, and in your community (which is typically the most difficult, yet where leadership can grow the most).

It involves aspects such as developing a personal mission and a dream board. It is centered on believing in something greater than yourself; something that grounds you in everything you think, say and do. It is a lifelong journey and one with many ups and downs.

The concept is simple. If we get to know ourselves well, set goals in four areas of holistic leadership, and create a mission and dream board; odds are the focus is about others vs. yourself, which is exactly what we want. The more we prioritize and serve others, the more we gain personal fulfillment.

To best accomplish this, knowing your strengths and gifts is vital because then you will know how to positively impact others. Think of any Marvel movie. Super heroes use gifts and strengths to save others and protect their community or our world. Villains use strengths and gifts for their own personal gain. We are each super heroes or villains in our own unique way.

Jim clearly was a super hero, and with all super heroes, he had his kryptonite. It is important to know when to ask for help because there is always someone willing to listen. Your spouse, friends, co-workers, or employee assistance program. Or, contact the national suicide prevention lifeline at 1-800-273-8255 or

Regardless of suicide, I believe God still determines when we leave this earth because there are many stories of individuals trying to commit suicide and failing. While grieving for Jim continues, and his family and our community have an unfathomable loss, God must have needed someone in His Heavenly Kingdom. I can see Jim sitting with Dr. King now.

Words by Jamie Anderson summarize Jim and the fight between good and evil, between using our gifts to serve others vs. only thinking about our ourselves. A summary of her words are, Grief is really just love. It is all the love you want to give, but cannot. All that unspent love gathers up in the corners of your eyes, the lump in your throat, and in that hollow part of your chest. Grief is just love with no place to go.

David Yeghiaian is committed to inspiring others through faith and leadership. Reach him at
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