Focus On....Tom Dalessandri - Carbondale, CO
When I first met Tom Dalessandri from the town of Carbondale, CO, I had already been apprised of his dedication and wisdom by the men in Pearlington who had worked with him. He was reputed to be sensible and honest and I immediately found that to be true.
Carbondale’s Pearlington Project is legendary. There almost from the beginning, they have donated over $100,000 of materials and goods to the recovery effort. Darrell Nelson and his brother Keith were instrumental in clearing hundreds of lots to allow for the FEMA trailers - a task that was critical and desperately needed. The County had no plan for such work. In the fall, I worked with Will Handeville, Frank Nadell and a young man Matt, whose last name escapes me (I’m sorry, Matt) who were instrumental with the first teams of Americorps volunteers, cleaning out the school and co-managing the Pearl*Mart. Each are firefighters and professional men who did a great job. There was the ambulance stocked with thousands of dollars of medications, donated vehicles; building materials, labor, work with Jeanne Brooks and the school - the list is endless.
Then there is Patti Clapper, a woman whose exuberance in helping Pearlington is infective, refreshing and deeply rooted in a spiritual understanding of the issues. Patti’s organizational skills and enthusiasm has provided the children and adults of Pearlington with many memorable moments. Behind it all is Ron Leach, the Fire Chief of Carbondale, whose vision and determination is the stuff that rebuilds hope.
Tom Dalessandri is a "man’s man" - that is to say, he embodies the qualities of leadership, personal integrity, openness and honesty that serves as a model for other men. In fact, if all the men of the world were like Tom - and others with whom I’ve served, like Tim Goodnow, Warren Tidwell and many others - the world would indeed be a very much healthier place in which to raise our children.
Yesterday, upon the conviction of the Enron Thieves, whistle-blower Sherron Walker wrote:
"Humility is an critically important trait in leaders. [It is] one of Jesus’ leadership lessons, found in Mark 9:35: ‘If anyone desires to be first, he must be last of all, and servant of all.’
Tom epitomizes this concept of servant-leader, that the needs of those he directs are first, not last. It is his innate humility that distinguishes him, and those who he represents, as a leader in the recovery of Pearlington and a good friend.