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|Wednesday, February 24,
Motivational speech at FHS presents
'Five Keys to Happiness'
Daly: Develop, use your gifts
• by John W. Dermody
Dan Daly (from left), FHS Principal Brian Koslofsky and Rusty Ouart posed following Daly's presentation to high school
students Thursday. The former New York Fire Department battalion chief talked about "The Five Keys to Happiness."
Ouart presented a flag to the school that had flown in Baghdad, Iraq. Photo by John W. Dermody|
If anyone were to look in the dictionary
for the word "positive," it would not be a surprise to see Dan Daly's photo alongside the definition.
The retired New York fire battalion chief presented a motivational speech to Frazee High School students Thursday, Feb.
18, in the gym and told each listener they are unique.
"Each and every one of you has a special gift. I want
you to develop that gift," he asserted.
Much of his talk was about what he termed "The Five Keys to Happiness."
During the afternoon presentation, he also addressed such contemporary topics as violence, bullying, drug abuse, self-development
and inner peace.
Daly, with 24 years in the fire service, leaned heavily on his experiences during the 9-11 tragedy
centered at the World Trade Center, along with his travels to speak around the globe.
He recounted how it was utter
chaos on that fateful morning on what has become known as "Ground Zero," after terrorist-piloted planes hit both
of the WTC towers.
Horrific loss of lives
The battalion chief rushed to his station and put a team together
to get to the site of the catastrophe. He said it was even necessary for men to commandeer a mail truck so they could join
fire teams already there with their trucks and hundreds of pieces of equipment.
"When we got to Ground Zero,
it was like another planet ... everyone was covered with a white dust ... and one building was already gone," he explained.
The labor to dig out victims was a gigantic effort in the aftermath of a loss of more than 3,000 citizens. Moreover,
he told of the deaths of 343 New York firefighters.
"I worked there on and off for four to six months. We
saw the best of mankind and the worst of mankind."
But he emphasized how volunteers "came from all over."
As time went by, a 16-acre plot became known as the "City of Angels," because of all the persons who came to help.
Obviously, with the 9-11 event the biggest in his 24-year career as a fireman, Daly said he decided to share his message
when he retired. Since then, he has spoken to a multitude of schools, civic organizations and the State Department has sent
him to many foreign countries.
"There have been some powerful moments. I've visited many cultures ...
and saw poverty and riches."
Focus on youths, values
After earlier noting the loss of 343 of his
colleagues on 9-11, he cautioned the young listeners on several topics, while also urging them to use their talents to the
Daly pointed out that approximately "35,000 young people die in vehicle accidents" each and
every year. That huge number, he emphasized, is far more than the normal loss of 110 firefighters across this nation annually.
"Your job is to seek out that talent ... find out what your passion is. This is your time in life to pull that
out," he continued.
He asked how many in the assembly were volunteers, and there were lots of hands in the
air. The speaker reaffirmed the importance of their activities and appealed to others to follow suit.
targeted by the visitor was "choose wisely," which meant youths should be very careful about the decisions they
make in life.
After visiting many prisons, talking with the inmates and having them pour out their regrets concerning
bad decision-making, Daly said one of the most valuable concepts he's found is the ability to mentor others.
One generation to another
As a young firefighter, he learned much from experienced men who taught him a lot that
was never covered in books.
"We need good mentors ... everyone needs one."
those who mentor others every day, not just senior men and women in public safety, but teachers and others in vital positions
that work with young people.
Moreover, the speaker said persons "should walk with an attitude of gratitude."
He added, "I know how lucky we are."
Our culture is strong in the United States and people
help one another. Americans show their gratitude daily in the way they support others, he stressed.
Frazee High School graduate Rusty Ouart to the audience, a soldier who is on the mend from a head injury suffered in an explosion
in Iraq. The soldier has been undergoing hyperbaric treatment at a Louisiana clinic in recent months.
He drew parallels
on the impacts made by such persons as Ouart and Tyler Shipman, whose funeral followed in the same gymnasium on Friday.
Both "walked with an attitude of gratitude in this world," he explained, and they did so much for others
- one as a student and the other in the military.
During the presentation, Ouart presented a flag to FHS Principal
Brian Koslofsky that had flown in Baghdad, Iraq.
Daly had become acquainted with Ouart in the time after 9-11 and
decided he wanted to come to Frazee. In addition to Thursday's event, he followed with a speech in Fargo Friday as part
of a daylong benefit to raise funds for the Ouart family. Many medical expenses have not been covered by the military.
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