As the sun climbed over the horizon early on April 16th, Robert offered words of wisdom to the new Tower Guard inductees at May Morning Sing.
“Before I could ever embrace the opportunities my talent opened for me, I had some critical life lessons to learn,” he said. Robert indicated that Tower Guard is filled with opportunity to lead. He emphasized that seizing these opportunities was meaningful.
“I spent the summer before my sophomore year sending snail-mail letters to every inducted member in Tower Guard, receiving their letters back, and assigning everyone to registration duty for the year on a big matrix chart. I promise you, no one was going out of their way to volunteer for any aspect of this – yet it had to be done and someone had to organize it.” People respond to strong leadership, and Robert wanted to ensure that the inductees embraced Tower Guard opportunities.
Superb student leadership often generates amazing things. Robert experienced one of these amazing moments while he was recording a textbook for a blind student. “The student I helped was a single mom that had a son around four years old. They lived in an apartment by themselves,” he stated.
Robert Perkin addressing the crowd at May Morning Sing.
On the first day of recording, Robert went to the student's apartment to begin recording the textbook. What he saw amazed him: “My first day there the mother was in the far bedroom, and her son was walking into the kitchen. I watched him tip-toe toward the kitchen cabinets. With great authority the mother corrected her son “stay away from those cabinets and come back here,” she exclaimed. Her visual impairment did not adversely affect her awareness of the surroundings as she realized her son was about to get into trouble. Robert went on to warn against lazy judgments and stated that, “Her ability to function in this environment with that little boy was absolutely astonishing.”
Robert made another vital warning. He explained that failing to follow through on a commitment can have long-term consequences. During his time in Tower Guard Robert once failed to show up to read an exam. “I lost track of days and times during final exam week, and blew right through the scheduled time… this was a kind of mistake you can only make once.”
Robert concluded his inspirational message with a simple concept: “Life is a precious and precarious thing that you should treasure.”
That concept is close to Robert’s heart, as his son Billy nearly died in his first few weeks of life due to an extremely rare disorder.
“The night before his surgery, we brought Billy to the hospital and all was well, so we left his room to get dinner. Shortly after we got back he stopped breathing, setting off the alarm on his pulse oximeter. Immediately the hospital unit started attending to him and they called a code within the hospital. Within moments the room was jammed full of medical professionals and the chaplain walked us out. We sat, waited, wondered, and prayed. They eventually stabilized him in the Pediatric Intensive Care Unit.”
Billy’s miraculous recovery has brightened the past 18 years of Robert's life and will continue into the future. “He is the happiest person you could ever find, very quick with a smile, and enormously thankful for the even the smallest things.”
Robert’s professional success in global engineering over the past 30 years has kept him busy. Tower Guard is lucky to have a man like Robert inspiring new inductees, and exemplifying what it means to be a Spartan. #SpartanWill