“Integrity: the quality of being honest and fair; the state of being complete or whole”
Another way of saying integrity is “walking the walk, not just talking the talk.” It is being willing to make the hard decisions, to act on those decisions, and to do what is right according to one’s own personal values. Many of us strive for this quality of living our lives in harmony with our values and beliefs.
When leadership and integrity combine, it often means the quality of being a servant leader. This is the kind of leader who puts others first, who shares credit for work accomplished by the group, who does not ask others to do what they are not willing to do, and who stays humble to the mission.
Most people are lucky enough to know a few people who fit this description. And these people usually influence us, inspire us, and motivate us to be a better person and live more fully into our own potential.
John Poorman was such a person.
He was already a personal friend when the flooding from Irene hit the area. He and his wife Bobby came to our house to find a safe haven on higher ground during the storm and early days of recovery. From the very beginning John stepped forward to assist me with advice during the recovery work in the Schoharie school district. His thoughtful advising grew into a very active role with the process of developing the framework for Schoharie Recovery, inc, and then becoming the first president of the organization. In that role he also became a trusted advisor for the work of SALT. All of this while working to recover personally from the damage at their home, and helping his daughter and family recover their home.
John always did his utmost to live by his values which were a major part John’s deep faith. It would be easy to wax eloquent about John’s many skills, abilities, and talents, for they were numerous. But for me, the most important tribute I can offer is to say he was that person of integrity, who walked his walk, who was indeed a servant leader.
John blessed my life and the lives of everyone who knew him. While he will be sorely missed, I am extremely grateful that we journeyed life’s road together for a while.