The Purple Gift – Peeling Back the Layers of Daniel Rodriguez’s Story #storytelling

I wish I was there…I so wish I was able to make it. My father, a Vietnam Veteran who served on the USS Kittyhawk in the Gulf of Tonkin, flew in from Utah and was able to witness this event.

It was a purple kind of day. Yep…since Clemson’s traditional colors are orange and purple…it was a purple kind of day. “Purple Out” was the call to fans, asking everyone to wear all purple in honor of Military Heritage Day. Clemson has a long traditional of military dating back to it’s origins.

Here is the context of the story:
In 1893, Clemson opened as an all-male military school, rivaling the South Carolina Military Academy (now know as the Citadel). Clemson graduated 446 cadets in 1896 and the Citadel was able to award it’s first bachelor of science degree to it’s graduates in 1900. There is a rich traditional of competition among these two military based schools.

CBS Sports writes about Saturday:
Purple has a rich tradition at Clemson and has become even more present with the addition of Daniel Rodriguez to the roster.

“Clemson wide receiver Daniel Rodriguez recorded his first career touchdown in the Tigers’ 52-6 win against Citadel on Saturday. The 25-year-old Purple Heart recipient has mostly played special teams this season, but got an opporutnity to score on a fly sweep from Cole Stoudt.

Rodriguez was awarded the Purple Heart and Bronze Star Medal after he was wounded in 2009 during the Battle of Kamdesh. After tours of duty in Iraq and Afghanistan, Rodriguez joined the team in 2012 thanks to an NCAA waiver. He recorded three receptions last season and entered Saturday’s game with five catches on the year.”

Saluting Daniel Rodriguez:
This purple day was an intersection of many story-lines. As these layers, these story-lines became one…the emotion was overwhelming. What makes a stadium cheer like they won the national championship in the fourth quarter when a reserve wide receiver scores a touchdown…especially when Clemson is up 40+ points.

What brings tears to the eyes of those who served when this reserve wide receiver spikes the ball and is lifted in the air by his team mates?

What is it that gives us chills when this wide receiver is more that a reserve…but a leader among leaders.

What gives you such pride to know that Daniel Rodriguez scored, walked into the end zone, that sacred carpet of freedom that so few have experienced in college football. Maybe this sacred carpet he enjoyed on this 4th down play was the very carpet of freedom his service, and the service of many others in the stadium that day, has provided for us to enjoy and entertain.

This moment of glory was more than just a touchdown. It is proof that someone can overcome all the odds, all the hurdles, and not only lead a country into a time of peace, but lead a team, a fan base, a state, and a college football nation into a moment of pure joy. What sits behind that joy? Hmm…maybe it is the knowledge we all can overcome the odds to find our moment of glory.

Thank you Daniel Rodriguez for reminding us what it means to serve our great country. Thank you for reminding Clemson and College Football that life is more than what transpires on Saturday’s…that it is this kindred time when we can all come together and feel a little more whole when you walked across that goal line.

I feel honored to know that you wore that purple uniform, leading us with your purple heart of service.

Here is the video from his touchdown.

* The picture above was taken by Marjorie Maxon of Marjorie Maxon Photography.

Military Appreciation Day at Clemson – Col. Ben Skardon

This past weekend’s Clemson football game was Military Appreciation Day at Clemson. Clemson played the Citadel and how appropriate to honor those who have served with two schools playing on the gridiron representing such military heritage.

In the game program, Col. Ben Skardon was the featured story. Earlier this year, I produced a short documentary surrounding his story and how his Clemson ring saved his life. I thought it was awesome to see him honored, and to also see the pictures that I took of him during that interview appear in the program. It has been a pleasure getting to know Col. Skardon and his lasting legacy here at Clemson.

Here is his story, just incase you missed it earlier this year!

Big Win for SC Mission 2012 – #CHPRMS Fall Conference

Thursday night the SC Hospital Association Team was awarded three Wallie Awards and a Golden Tusk award at the 2013 Carolinas Healthcare Public Relations & Marketing Society Fall Conference. By the way, the fall conference was held at the Grove Park Inn in Asheville…such a nice place!

I was a part of the team that produced a short documentary about the SC Mission 2012 event in Columbia, SC. This production won a Silver Wallie Award and a Golden Tusk award.  Below is the video from the event. EXCITED!!!

Facebook “Star” Rating System Released –> GHS Life Center

Have you noticed the new five star Facebook rating system? It popped up on one of GHS’s Facebook pages  this week (GHS Life Center’s Page).

It looks like Facebook just released this new system and they are testing it out on certain pages. TechCrunch reported this new deal on November 7, 2013:

“Using a star system for place and page ratings isn’t entirely new; Facebook has been collecting star ratings from users on the desktop and via local search for quite a while now, and also seeking star ratings on content and apps via Timeline. What is new is making this information explicitly displayed on the social network itself, in a prominent place on a business or place Page.

This shift, if it moves from the testing phase to general adoption, has a couple major implications for Facebook users. First, for general members, it provides an increased degree of sentiment information surrounding places and content that goes well beyond the simple off/on attribute of the Like. “

For businesses, it’s not clear yet whether displaying this rating will be optional or mandatory, but if Facebook is making a play to compete with the Yelps, Foursquares and Angie’s Lists of the world when it comes to local discovery and service recommendations, it would make sense that they are required by default. That could mean a considerable shift in how businesses use FB, with more emphasis placed on customer service versus just maintaining a presence on the network. Likes are easy, after all, but getting users to fill up that star bar will require a lot more effort and interaction.”

Here is the comment from Facebook:
“We’re extending star ratings on Facebook from mobile to desktop – to make it easier for people to discover great businesses around them. This is beneficial for both businesses and consumers. Star ratings encourage more people to rate a business, making it eligible to appear in News Feed and help others discover a business they didn’t know about previously. For businesses themselves, this also leads to greater brand awareness.

As you may recall, star ratings launched in early 2012 with the introduction of Nearby on mobile. Now we’re bringing the visibility of star ratings to a more prominent spot at the top of Pages’ timeline on desktop and to the preview in News Feed.”