Carry the Load founder gives rousing speech at Annual First Responders Luncheon

Clint Bruce, founder of Carry the Load, was welcomed as the keynote speaker of the Rockwall Chamber Annual First Responders Luncheon on Wednesday.

(ROCKWALL, TX – March 23, 2017) The Rockwall Chamber of Commerce welcomed Carry the Load Founder Clint Bruce as keynote speaker for its Annual First Responders Luncheon on Wednesday, presented by Baylor Scott and White Medical Center – Lake Pointe and Southwest Kia Rockwall.

Bruce delivered a powerful message on what defines a hero to the crowd of first responders packed inside the garage bay of the Thomas H. Nall Fire Station ( 920 Rockwall Pkwy).

“What’s beautiful about this nation is we don’t have to look very far for heroes,” Bruce said. “We can find you in your uniforms in places and doing amazing things. The template for heroism is set by you, first responders, on a daily basis. You’re the peak of your craft. It’s like watching water roll downhill, a lion hunt or a Great White shark swim. That’s what you’re built for and it’s awesome to see.”

The former Navy Seal and NFL player told of the Greek island of Crete and how the people there are taught heroism as a craft at a young age. “It was taught in Crete that heroism takes three things: strength, skill and compassion. And if you have strength and skill but no compassion then you are no hero. But if you have compassion, can find strength in the moment, and cultivate a skill that makes a difference, then you’re a hero. We’re in a room full of heroes right now.”

Bruce said growing up having lost his father at an early age, he had to find his “battle cry,” his own personal anthem that would get him through hardships and that no one could take away from him. He found that anthem in the old nautical adage, “hold fast and stay true.” He would write the words on his knuckles before every football game he played and every mission he undertook as a Navy Seal.

The saying, Bruce said, was something the sailors would yell to one another out on the sea during a heavy storm, and it meant to grab hold of something that wasn’t going to fail and stay the course no matter which direction the winds, waves or storm steered the ship.

“First responders, you’re in a challenging sea right now. If you were to turn on the news or read the paper, you would wonder sometimes if you were valued and appreciated, respected and endeared. I would tell you if you would look to your left and then to your right, you’d find your answer today. You’re amazing, and that’s why we’re all here today. Hold fast, stay true, and thank you.”

Rockwall Assistant Fire Chief Brett Merritt accepts a certificate and U.S. flag presented to the Thomas H. Nalls Fire Station from Lorie Grinnan with Congressman John Ratcliffe's Office.

Lorie Grinnan with Congressman John Ratcliffe’s office presented the Thomas H. Nalls Fire Station with a special U.S. flag flown over the U.S. Capitol in honor of Rockwall County first responders.

“Each and every one of us here today can make it a point to continue providing the support shown at this event by taking the opportunity to say thank you to our first responders, as part of our everyday mindset. But more importantly we need to pass this on to our children, teach them that our first responders don’t just have a cool uniform, but that they’re ready to dedicate themselves to keeping our community safe, and ready to respond to any crisis large or small with a courage and selflessness we can all admire,” Grinnan said.

From the left: Rockwall County Children's Advocacy Center Executive Director Patricia Mejia, Rockwall County Criminal District Attorney Kenda Culpepper, and Honda Cars of Rockwall President Robin Chouteau.

To conclude the luncheon program, the Chamber awarded a portion of the proceeds of the event in the form of a $1,000 giant check to the Children’s Advocacy Center for Rockwall County.

Story and photos by Austin Wells, Blue Ribbon News.

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