Category Archives: Personal

In Memory of Eve

I know it is strange to be wearing my SGA pin after having been out of the organization seven years. Even SGA has gone though several logo changes since then. But, this pin was given to me during the retreat where I first met Eve Puckett. So, I am wearing it today instead of my alumni pin, or my University Senate pin, in her honor and memory.

The outpouring of memories from everyone who loved Eve has been overwhelming. My post from Tuesday has been viewed by nearly 13,000 people from all 50 states and over 40 countries. Just to put that into perspective, the next most popular post of all time on this site has had 36 views. So, it is by no means my writing ability.

The woman we remember today has impacted countless lives. Her memorial service is being held in the largest auditorium in any of the surrounding counties. And I fully expect the place to be packed.

A Giant of Georgia College

I don’t know that there is ever a good time to wake up with your wife handing you a phone. I know it is generally best to have some caffeine in my system before I try to talk to anyone. With the “It’s an emergency” added in, the adrenaline quickly took the place of the caffeine and I woke up very quickly. As is always the case with that introduction, the news was not good. My colleague and “office neighbor” Eve Puckett had suffered a brain aneurysm.

I first met Eve nine years ago when I was a somewhat terrified transfer student who was trying to get involved in student government at Georgia College just as I had been at GMC. At the time, she was one of the advisors for the organization, and I quickly learned one of her rather phenomenal abilities. She can remember names like they are carved in stone. I have never seen anyone else who even comes close. I’ve mentioned people who worked on campus 20 years ago and she instantly knew to whom I was referring. As someone who has always struggled to remember names, it has always been a phenomenal ability to me.

She was a one-person institutional memory repository. Just in the time I have known her, she has worked for Human Resources, Disability Services, and University Housing, not to mention serving on Staff Council and University Senate and working with the Student Government Association and GIVE Center. She had also taught in several different departments, and bragged about having worked in sixteen offices during her tenure with the institution (although granted on a per year basis, I was catching up with her).

As we moved through the weekend, there has been an outpouring of support on social media. Inspired by Larry’s post, Georgia College’s network has turned into a sea of orange.

Eve Puckett’s favorite color is Orange. Please consider replacing your profile picture in her support as she fights for her life!

Posted by Larry Christenson on Sunday, October 11, 2015

Eve passed away this morning. Ever the fighter, she kept going even after, in accordance with her wishes, life support had been disconnected. My prayers and thoughts are with her family. She may have been short of stature, but Eve Puckett was a giant of the Bobcat Nation. You did NOT try to keep up with her walking. You did not remember names any better than she did. There was no point in trying to out serve her. I can only hope that when my lifetime is complete, I will have made such a positive impact on even a fraction of the number of people she has.

My Every Day (almost) Carry

Well, September is almost over, and with it, National Preparedness Month. So, I wanted to go over things that I carry with me on a daily basis.

Most basically, I have my keys. I carry two sets so I don’t have to deal with my work keys on the weekends. I do keep a SOG Key Knife on my everyday key ring. It is well under the limit to be considered a “weapon” on a college campus. But it does come in handy for opening boxes, etc.

Besides my keys that I keep in my pocket, everything else varies as to if I have it in my bag, on my person, or in the truck. I obviously don’t carry everything all day every day. Some of these items do not play nicely with working on campus, so they either stay locked in the truck, or at home depending on the day.

I should also note that I have a Georgia Weapons Carry License. So, the Georgia rules allow for university employees to keep weapons locked in my vehicle, even when parked on campus – even though most of the time I park in city spots.

The Bag

 

What doesn’t fit in my pockets goes in here. It is a SOG Ninja bag. It has a customized name tag with my name and radio call sign on the velcro for the morale patch. Also shown is my handheld radio, which I will discuss more in a bit, and a GPB Camelbak water bottle.

Technology

 

I generally have my work issued iPad (2nd Gen). Everywhere I go I have my phone, which is a Samsung Galaxy S4 (soon to be upgraded, I hope). Being a smart phone, I obviously have it loaded down. I do have it encrypted, with a complex pass code. Additionally, a secondary code is required to access my cloud accounts, such as Evernote. Also thrown in for good measure is a pair of earbuds.

The radio is a Baofeng UV-82. I have it programmed with the repeaters for my home county, and all of the adjacent counties as well. Even though the company doesn’t have the best reputation, it is in my price range, covers both the 2m and 70cm bands, and will receive NOAA broadcasts and FM broadcast frequencies.

Tool Kit

In my bag, I keep a Maxpedition Fatty Pocket Organizer. Inside, I keep:

 

First Aid

 

  • Obviously, a first aid kit
  • Listerine spray
  • Ibuprofen
  • Gloves

Not pictured

  • Snacks
  • Stock of other OTC meds (allergy, sinus, etc)

Charging Equipment

Since there are days I spend a lot of time away from the office, I have a large battery charging pack, a smaller one, and chargers for both my phone and iPad.

Self Defense

I have a S&W Tactical Pen, Gerber Fast Draw Tanto, and depending on the day, I go back and forth between a Tarus PT 609 and a PT-22.

Now more than ever…

When I started my journey in fresh childlike trust
I believed that the Lord’s way was best.

When my journey began, my trust was childlike, because I was a child. I asked the Lord into my heart at an alter made of the dining room chairs put in a row, in my home in the smallest of small towns (it doesn’t even have a post office). But even at a young age, I knew that I needed something that I didn’t have, and that no man could provide.

I can tell you now the time
I can take you to the place
Where the Lord saved me
by His wonderful grace

On January 5, 1991, realized that even though I was a “good kid,” I was still a sinner. I asked God to forgive me of my sins, to come into my heart, and to “cleanse me from all unrighteousness.” The journey over the last twenty-four years has not been easy. There have been times when God’s presence would have not been any stronger if I was standing in the throne room of Heaven, and there were times when the valley seemed insurmountable.

Looking back, I can see the valleys were all used to teach me more about the King I serve. I learned that just because I want something, it is not what is best for me. I learned just because someone claims to be a man of God, it does not make him infallible. I’ve learned that just because someone makes assertions based on scripture does not mean that the assertions can be accepted without verification, study, and prayer.

Oh, but now more than ever I cherish the cross.
More than ever I sit at His feet.
All the miles of my journey have proved my Lord true,
And He is so precious to me.

I can honestly say I am stronger in my faith than I was at this time a year ago. The convictions I have are mine; not thrust upon me by my peers. The Christian walk really does get “sweeter as the days go by.”

[youtube https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0GcihwpFWkE?rel=0&controls=0]

Merry Christmas!

At Georgia College, we don’t get many holidays. Well. we get as many as anyone else in state government, we just get them at different times. That time is now. So, over the next few days, I will be celebrating Washington’s Birthday, Confederate Memorial Day, Columbus Day, and Veterans Day, along with Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Over the next few hectic days, take a few moments to remember the new covenant that we celebrate this time of year.

Nikki and I hope you and your family have a very blessed holiday season prosperous new year. Merry Christmas from us.

—–

Daniel and Nikki Simpson

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=X4hkwhOiD98?rel=0&controls=0]

One year in, a lifetime to go

Well, I recently passed the mark of one year of marriage to my lovely wife, and a bit more recently, the three year anniversary of our first date. It has been quite a ride since then. There’s nothing like coming home from the honeymoon on Wednesday and being faced with Thanksgiving and the start of the holidays the very next morning. That is a hectic reintroduction to the real world to be sure.

Our first year saw us make a trip to Tampa for the celebration of a cousin’s wedding, being able to participate in the weddings of two more dear friends, and concluded with an anniversary trip to Helen. I started a new job. We learned the intricate details of how to live life together. She ALWAYS gets the remote… It’s not me worth having to fast forward all the commercials – I do get to pick the show, if I ask nicely.

We were also able to find a place to be our church home. I started visiting on October 7, 2012. We were able to join Turner Hill Baptist Church in Lithoina on our anniversary, November 23, 2014. After 777 days of searching for where we were supposed to be, that was a welcome relief. Although, that was also tempered a bit by the fact that after we joined, they told us that they didn’t meet on the 5th Sunday of the month. Our first Sunday as members of the church we ended up visiting my parents’ church again.

So now, we look to our second year of married life. Our second holiday season. Our second Valentine’s. Our second round of birthdays. The honeymoon year may be over, but now is the excitement of life together.

A New Chapter

Well, now that all of my students have been told, it is time to announce it to the world. This Friday, September 19th, will be my last day as an Academic Advisor at the Georgia College Center for Student Success. I’ve spent the last week and a half madly fitting in as many advising appointments as possible.

The following Monday, I begin my new journey as the Training Specialist with the Georgia College Department of Human Resources. In this job, I will be conducting needs assessments and implement training and development programs for the university, manage initiative implementation, develop training manuals and course materials, and assist with New Employee Orientation.

My time with CSS has been life changing. My fellow advisors have become my family, both figuratively and literally. Leeann and I both started on the same day, shared an office, and had our friendship grow to the level where our coworkers referred to us as siblings.

Other friendships developed as well. After our move to Lanier Hall, I joined the “BA Corner”  with Rebecca Miles and Chris Lamphere. Eventually, Chris retired, and Nadirah Mayweather filled his slot.

Beyond that, I met my wife through the job. Nikki had been with the department for five weeks when I joined (she had previously been an advisor housed in the Department of Psychological Science for two years). We met that exciting day in August when I first walked into The Bone House. It took a while, but eventually a friendship, then relationship blossomed.

Beyond my colleagues, it has been a true honor to work with some of the students that have come across my path. Watching them learn, grow, and mature has been an immensely rewarding experience.

Likewise, I am grateful for my own growth and learning experiences over the last three years. The mentors I have had in the department have taught me valuable life lessons and experience. They were standing next to me and behind me on the rough days, and celebrating with me on the good.

Monday starts a new chapter in my life. But I will never forget the events of the chapter that is now drawing to a close. And for those events, lessons, and memories, I will always be grateful.

Celebrating Graduation Weekend

Cross-posted from danielrsimpson.net

In the next two days, more than 1300 people will go from being Georgia College students to being Georgia College Alumni. To celebrate the occasion, I put together a collage of graduations from my past.

Fotor0508150953

Top Left:

Receiving my Associate of Science in General Studies from Georgia Military College Vice President for Student Affairs and Dean of Faculty Dr. John Anderson in 2006.

Top Right:

With Ms. Claire Nichols (now Sanders), Instructor of Political Science, following my Undergraduate Commencement for Bachelor of Arts in Political Science in 2008.

Bottom Left:

Being hooded as part of the Graduate Commencement where I received my Master of Public Administration in 2010.

Middle Right:

With other members of my graduate cohort, Mike Taylor, Justin Mays, and Haly Hicks.

Bottom Right:

My first graduation as faculty (and only one I’ve participated in as faculty). With my good friend Joshua Rogers, who received Outstanding Graduate from Georgia Military College in 2011.

Farewell to Another Mentor

In September of 2004, I walked into a classroom of a man who quite frankly scared me to death. I hated math, but was still faced with a college algebra course my first term in college. To say I was terrified does not begin to describe my emotion. I would like to say that Dr. John S. Robertson was quick to alleviate my fears, but this is not the case. The more he lectured, the more terrified I became. This was a man whose brilliance was as intimidating as his bold red suspenders were distracting.

I still hate math. But, over the course of the next two years, and with the benefit of retrospect, I learned so much more from him than I ever imagined. He demonstrated to me how to manage a classroom. He showed me how to reward students who make an effort. He strove to reassure me that it was possible to be both a man of science and logic while being a man of faith. He introduced me to the world of Biblical apologetics. While we did not share the same denomination, we did share the same faith and he taught me the importance of being able to defend and describe what I believe.

He was also the faculty advisor for the GMC Amateur Radio Club, of which I was the only member. On the occasions where we would have meetings, we would sit together long after formal adjournment and discuss things related to radio, to science, to faith, and to life. Without realizing it was happening, I was being given a model of the liberal arts experience.

Dr. Robertson and I fell out of touch after his retirement, which is something I hate. But, I can still see his influences each time I stand before a classroom, each time I engage in a theological discussion, and each time I am trying to make sense of a math problem. He had a tremendous impact on my life, as I am sure he has on countless others during his years of teaching at the United States Military Academy, Georgia College, and Georgia Military College. He passed away last week; I didn’t find out until the funeral was in progress. Since I was not able to pay my respects in person, on behalf of all of his former students, I say thank you. You will be missed.

Obituary

I don’t have a picture of us together, but this is pretty close. If I remember correctly, he took this picture while we were operating a Special Event Station at the GMC Business Office.