I am writing this just a couple of hours before I actually meet Frank Strong in person, but I already know I’ll like him as much (if not more) than I do online.
Frank and I met on Twitter several years ago. He’s the director of PR for Vocus and PRWeb, so it makes sense that we know one another. But the reasons we’ve become friend outnumber professional ones.
Last year, Frank was deployed for the second time, and he arrived back home safely earlier this year.
In a blog post at the end of March, he describes how technology has allowed the men and women serving our country the opportunity to see their families every day via Skype (read it; it’ll make you tear up a little bit).
But what I find most interesting is his description of his service and what’s going on in the Middle East:
I’m a Guardsman, a part-time Soldier, recalled to active duty and spent the last year deployed. This was my second deployment; my first tour to Iraq ended in 2007.
My first deployment was for war; this deployment was for peace and ironically, the latter has left me with a far more cynical, perhaps isolationist, view of Middle East: We give and give and give; they hate and hate and hate. The more we give, the more they hate us for it. War gave me compassion, while “peacekeeping” has chipped away at my empathy and hardened my soul; it’s made me, to my own astonishment, bitter.
I can only imagine what it’s like to fight for a country, go to another country to try to give it the same peace and freedom we have, and have your hand bitten. Because of that, Frank is more than another PR professional. He’s changing the world in a way only a few of us ever know.
You can find Frank on Twitter, on LinkedIn, on Google+, on the Vocus blog, and writing on his own blog, The Sword and the Script.
P.S. Something that often goes unspoken is the commitment organizations make when someone who works for them is deployed. Vocus not only saved Frank’s job for him, they welcomed him back with open arms.