On the anniversary of each Pearl Harbor Day, I always think of my first mentor in loss prevention. His name was Lane Cooke, and I first met him when he was the regional security director for the Midwestern division of retailer Montgomery Ward. He was at the Pearl on that day 80 years ago, a private in the 25th Infantry Division stationed at Schofield Barracks. He told of being awakened that Sunday morning by crazy noise of explosions and planes flying over, strafing the barracks. Like others, he ran out of the barracks half-clothed, wondering what to do and where to take cover.
He survived and spent 25 years in the Army, reaching the rank of captain. After his retirement, he took a job with Montgomery Ward in security.
I was a trainee in security when I first met him. A man who exuded discipline and presence when he walked in the room. I was fortunate to work for him for twelve years and eventually took his position as regional director as he moved on to corporate security manager. He believed in high standards, honesty and a firm dress code (suits and conservative ties, no sport coats). More than anyone else, he was committed to hiring those with college degrees and promoting them based upon their potential, not on any long-tenured accomplishments. As a result, no fewer than 25 individuals who were hired out of college went on to become executives in LP with Wards and other companies, all of whom were touched and influenced by Lane Cooke. I remember him and thank him every December 7.
God Bless our veterans and thank you for your service. We salute you.