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Hiring Greatness by Mark J. Haluska, David E. Perry

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Epilogue: All In

Touched by Greatness

There is a very simple reason why I believe in the power of greatness. It's because I was touched by greatness firsthand. It saved—and changed—my life on April 13th, 1971

The urgent rhythm of the approaching medical transport helicopter shattered the calm of the thin Colorado air. I always had mixed feelings whenever I heard such helicopters in the night: a foreboding concern for whomever might need that immediate medical attention, partially offset by guilt-ridden relief that at least “it wasn't me.”

But this time, it was for me.

Drifting in and out of medicated sedation, I was amused as the bright lights overhead seemed to swirl around the hospital's surgical amphitheater. Over 100 visiting doctors were crammed into the upper surgical observatory. The pre-op support team was bustling with activity, in anticipation of the imminent arrival of the distinguished team of surgeons disembarking from the helicopter.

The military surgeons at Fitzsimons Army Hospital in Denver had been blunt with my father: No one had ever survived the heart operation I was about to undergo. The attending nurse whispered compassionately to my father, “You need to say good-bye now.” My dad squeezed my hand and, in a soft tone percolating with hope, he looked into my eyes, smiled bravely, and said, “You'll be alright, Dave. I love you, son,” as the cluster of doctors arrived.

My father was assured these doctors were among the greatest team of heart surgeons in the ...

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