Success Stories – June 2013

JB TOMLINSON – Eastern Canada

  Tomlinson Quits Smoking After 55 Years                         

JB Tomlinson started smoking at age 16. At age 33 he attempted to quit, and over the last 55 years he’s tried every method and drug to quit smoking, and he failed every time. At a January 2013 Tribal meeting he publically vowed to the entire Division to quit smoking by the end of February.

After a bout and victory with side effects of new drug, inability to sleep for more than three hours at a time, and a slight feeling of depression, he is proud to report that he’s had his last cigarette on February 25.

“I have not felt this good for decades.  I now sleep well every night.  I am positive every day, and enjoy life as if I was a man much younger than my 78 years,” Tomlinson says. “I thank the Abnaki Tribe for being their constant support on this.”

PHIL BASSETT – Southeast Region

  Man Down and Out Comes Out on Top

The man went through bankruptcy and had to sell almost all his belongings to stay alive. He stayed active and in contact with the men – available for mentoring, coaching. He argued but took some of it anyway. Stayed in the game – stayed in action, kept applying for work in the face of rejection. At the peak of the bleakness, Bassett found a job in his chosen field, in a good place to live (Chattanooga, TN). Now gainfully employed, useful and productive, he is no longer starving or down. Even while down, he contributed to others throughout – as Warriors’ Community Service Manager, United Methodist Men project contributor, and other avenues of giving. He showed how in the giving, one could receive.

JIM WHITTLE – Mid-Atlantic Region

  Community Service Events, Care Packages and Contagious Success

Jim Whittle has become a better husband and a better dad – showing his son what a man does for his own and showing my daughter how to be loved and respected, always. With the help and support of the men on the Friday Knights and Shore Team XVII / VI Whittle owned community events powerfully – raising over $1,000 for Big Brothers and Big Sisters while recently creating care packages for the troops. What started as an effort to send one package, became five packages, with three other teams stepping up from the division. Says Whittle, “I am honored to be a part of this project, The Shore Teams, my division and this organization. HO!”

Attached picture: our team with teammate Dan Taylor’s widow.

JEFF PETTENGILL – New England Region

  The Creative Life Holds Man Accountable to his Creativity and He Thrives

New England’s Jeff Pettengill exemplifies what it means to be a successful man. In the past few years, he has become a published author, landed a higher paying job, found his sweetheart, and got married! Pettengill attributes his success to several factors. After his Men’s Weekend in May 2004, he began to gain confidence and his self-esteem improved. He had a major breakthrough at his Legacy Discovery in May 007. He got in touch with a part of himself that he had locked away as a kid: creativity. He realized that when he was being creative, he was a lot happier. He began to use this skill to write short stories, cook, and even in his accounting job.

He began to use his creativity to write short stories. He had always dreamed of being a published author, perhaps even making a living from it. He sent one of his stories to a publisher. It got rejected. Undaunted, he worked with the publisher to improve the story and it got published. Since then, he has had 6 other short stories published! Once he had transformed himself into a happy, confident, powerful leader who was in control of his life, Suzanne – his wife – appeared. 

What would Pettengill say to a man who feels stuck? “Step into a leadership position in MDI!” He believes that the fastest way to grow is to step up. Leadership has allowed him to feel comfortable and confident in any situation.

ELMER GOMEZ – Southwest Region

  Facing Anger and Battling Dishonor, Gomez Rises to Heights through Leadership

My grandparents brought their six children out of a life of poverty in the Philippines in the early 1970’s.  They worked as farmers in the fields up and down California following the seasons. My father taught me the value of hard work and said that if I wanted to get ahead in America I needed an education.  I was a 17 and a senior in high school when I got my (current) wife pregnant.  She was a freshman in college and I promised her I would take care of her and our child until the day I died.  

Over the next 14 years we had three more children. Through much dedication and sacrifice I was able to earn a degree in engineering while providing for my family. However, I had not managed the stress well and in 2011 my anger overflowed and I had a huge fight with my wife. I knew something had to change, and that something was me. I sought the help of a family therapist who recommended I contact Dr. Bob Irwin who invited me to a team meeting.  In a few months I did my first Legacy Discovery.  This was the spark that lit the fuse and got me going.  I found my Higher Purpose: To be the best man that I can be and to inspire others to be their best, as well.

During my Point Program I learned why I was so angry, faced my demons and shadows, and forgave myself. After completing as a Team Leader I became the Division Growth Manager. I also served as the Point Program Managers’ S1 for the next point cycle.  

At home now, my family is thriving.  All my boys are athletes, good students and help out at home.  I’ve coached their baseball teams since they started, and I am now the manager/head coach of one of my son’s Babe Ruth division team.  My daughter is a girl scout and knows what a good man looks like. I date my wife regularly and show her love and affection every day. Our relationship is solid.

Recently, I was elected as the new DC of the Big Stick Division. I owe my success to all the giant shoulders I’ve had the privilege to stand on – my parents, family members, teachers, mentors and the men of MDI.

ERIC MORTIMER – Western Canada Region

  Man Serves Community Through Speaking Engagements before 2000 People

Eric Mortimer has been living his purpose, pushing his comfort zone, and serving community simultaneously. He recently delivered an inspirational talk to over 2,000 people at the Calgary SEED Event.  This is the same event that hosts Wayne Dyer, Deepak Chopra, Dr. Jean Houston and other transformational speakers. Mortimer has also just been invited to do a Ted talk!  Eric says, “Thank you men. Odds are I would not have these opportunities without support and challenge from my men – so they are wins for tribe and MDI too!” 

Click to see news story involving Mortimer:        

ASHANTI BRANCH – Western Region  
  MDI Man Supports Youth to Achieve Personal and Academic Goals

Busy is hardly the word to define Ashanti Branch.  Though Branch has lost over 50 pounds on a 90-day juicing program, he would probably say this was not his biggest success. 

In addition to his work in MDI, Branch teaches high school math at his alma mater Fremont High School in Oakland where he is the co-director of the student support center. He is the Founder and Executive Director of The Ever Forward Club (EFC), a non-profit organization, whose mission is to create communities of students who are setting and achieving their personal and academic goals. A full 100 percent of the students who commit to being a part of the young men’s and young women’s circles graduate high school and 93 percent go on to college.  This year EFC completed the 8th Annual College tour with 49 youth and just recently completed their 9th Annual Relay Challenge where high school and college students form teams of 10 to walk and run for a continuous 24-hour period. 

Attached picture: Branch (far right) with his students.

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