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a colleague pays tribute

Subject: Shared Conversations with Scott
Date: Tue, 13 April 2004 09:43:08 EDT

Garth,

This is Kathy Potter (John's wife) and I don' know if you will get this in time for the funeral but, if there is any way you can forward the following (all or part) to Scott's wife and kids it would be sincerely appreciated.

I spent a week in Kuwait with Scott right before he went into Iraq (John was in Bagdad [sic]and I was in charge of Operations in Kuwait in his absence) and we were able to have some wonderful conversations about his family, life and lessons learned. Scott was a totally changed man from the last time I saw him (combat missions preview) and was such a joy to be around! There wasn't a day I wasn't cracking up at him and his comments!

His favorite saying (which he used every opportunity he had) was "I'm just damn glad to be here!" This would make me laugh and bring a smile to all of our faces when he said this. And it squelched any negative conversations or attitudes dead in their tracks (which were quite prevalent in Kuwait). As Scott expressed to me and others, "negative attitudes, complaining and gossip is like a cancer that grows out of control and destroys everything in its path, and if it isn't positive or constructive then it should be kept to oneself".

He did not want any part of the negativeness which accompanied a few of the guys (and was isolated and threatened because of it) and he stood his ground about it, maintaining his resolve to a new way of life and attitude. Scott expressed to me that he had learned a critical lesson during Combat Missions and the aftermath and that was: the importance of a positive attitude, supporting and respecting the people in charge, and the importance of relationships (people should always come first).

Scott expressed that his ex-wife was his best friend and how important it was to keep a good relationship with her, that his children would always come first (no matter what the divorce stipulation said he would provide anything he could for them over and above what was "required"), and he would sacrifice anything for them (the time apart was going to be extremely difficult for him however). Scott made the comment that his son was just starting to think that his dad was "ok and kind of cool"! And he adored his daughter, worrying about the dating years to come and how he would handle it… (I pity any girl who has a Navy Seal as a Dad!) "There wasn't anything he wouldn't do for his family." He was so proud of his kids, how they were doing in school, how they were maturing and handling life, and was looking forward to being able to pay off bills, help their mom, pay for their college, and have some great vacations and fun times with them. The separation was going to be hard but, he wanted to provide for them more than anything.

Scott came to Kuwait as part of a six man team initially staged in Kuwait to support a personal security detail contract for a company operating in Iraq. Upon his arrival at Camp Wolf, right away Scott showed his willingness to go over and above when we had to cram 6 guys plus all their baggage, equipment, and guns (and two drivers) into a Pajero and a small Honda. After loading all the bags there was only enough room for 5 guys so we dug a small hole amoungst [sic] the baggage and Scott pretzelled himself into the small space stating "No problem, I'm flexible!" He was in there but, I don't think he was breathing!

Scott was an integral part of the start up team for the contract in researching vehicle modifications, personnel communication equipment, and acquiring the back up vehicles and critical supplies for these vehicles (when the original plan for armored vehicles fell through). He took on any task, no matter how menial, (made a great cup of tea!) with such wonderful enthusiasm and humility that I wish I had a dozen of him! What was given to him as a "left over minor task", (vehicle supplies) he charged forward with and excelled, rolling with the punches, exposing a flaw in the vehicle luggage racks (which prevented potential hazardous situations) and adapted to the never ending changes and challenges of Kuwaiti "rules of the day".

I, myself, was in a very difficult situation being in charge of the operation while John was in Bagdad [sic], and had to deal with one (sometimes two) of the guys coming in with a very negative and disrespectful attitude, and a chauvinistic and challenging demeanor, refusing to follow any direction relayed to the team by Bagdad [sic] through me. Scott (and Chris [… Scott's roommate]) showed nothing but support for the chain of command, realized the importance of respecting and trusting the people in charge who had been in country and involved in the operation, and sought out direction and advice from the experts in the field (guys coming in from Bagdad [sic]). He was truly a TEAM player! Scott also respectfully voiced any concerns and provided important feedback for the mission's success. He sought out and received any and all direction and advice available with an open and willing mind and attitude. And he always showed the utmost maturity and professionalism in all of his interactions.

Scott truly made an impact on us all as he refused to go along with the negative attitudes and disrespect for authority that these guys were exhibiting and because of it was singled out, isolated and threatened. But, he humbly stood his ground, maintaining his values, integrity and morals to the end. He took on the challenge of the job with all the obstacles, harassment, changes, and life threatening hazards with a "can do-damn glad to be here" positive attitude that was unparralled [sic]!

AND

Scott knew what life was all about!
-Family first, (Relationship are what it's all about)
-Morals, Interity, and Values
-and a Positive Attitude.

It was an honor to know and work with him. He is truly a HERO and is what REAL men are made of! He had honor, integrity, respect and a great attitude and love for people. He will be sorely missed but, John and I look forward to one day meeting up with him again in Heaven!

Sincerely and Respectfully,
Kathy Potter

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posted june 21, 2005

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