Charlie Adams – Jan. 19, 1924 – Feb. 9, 2013
His license plate says it all. Humble, yet explicit; short, yet larger than life. Charlie Adams’ license plate says, “Iwo Jima.”
When you look around and hear the comments from his colleagues and friends, clearly Charlie Adams had an impact way beyond anything we could have imagined.
Numerous times I have told stories about traveling with Charlie. We would make sales calls, and throughout the day he and I would sit, be it with a cup of coffee, a donut or even ice cream, and he would express his sincere satisfaction with life.
Charlie was a World War II veteran, an Iwo Jima veteran – not through the first wave or the second wave, but the third wave. He just loved life.
“What a wonderful job we have,” Charlie would say to me. “And not only do we get to meet great people, but we solve the farmers’ problems. And you know what the best part of the job is?
“No, Charlie. What?”
“They actually pay us to do it.”
Charlie was, as Paul Harvey would say, an unsung hero.
Many times, I have used the poem, The Dash. When you look at The Dash, you think of Charlie, and what he said to me at his 60th wedding anniversary. He turned to me and showed me two things he always wore proudly. First, the Medal of Honor given to him by President George Bush (belatedly, as he was overlooked for the medal, but then again Charlie would never put himself forward). At the same time, he proudly wore a watch that read “1988 Alltech Salesman of the Year.” In his opinion, these were the two highest honors he had ever achieved and to hear him say that was humbling to me indeed.
Charlie loved his life, and he loved his job. He recounted to me how he had gone to war at the age of 17, fudging his age no doubt, and found himself on the front theatres of war, the most important being Iwo Jima.
When he returned to California after serving his country, he expressed to his dad that he really wanted to get back on the horse and pursue his love. The only problem was there were no horses, except for the one that belonged to the farmer next door. And the farmer’s daughter had a horse, too. That very day, Charlie went for a trail ride with a young lady who was later to become his wife Betty. Charlie was an unsung hero.
We salute you, Charlie.
- Pearse Lyons