There are no metrics for “Saves”

Col. Chris Hair, 19th Maintenance Group commander

Col. Chris Hair, 19th Maintenance Group commander

LITTLE ROCK AIR FORCE BASE, Ark. -- "Virtue is its own reward. There's a pleasure in doing good which sufficiently pays itself."
Sir John Vanbrugh.

This quote sounds simple enough and won't get much argument from people. However, that isn't much comfort when we have tried to do good and it seems to have had no effect--there are no measurements kept for those whom we help to avoid misfortune.

I have been part of many conversations about how we can find ways to prevent drunk driving, or domestic abuse, or financial difficulties, or worst-case, a suicide. My conviction is the only way to have any positive effect is to never stop trying. The problem is that we rarely know for certain we've done any good. There is no metric for the number of individuals we have saved. Sure, we have yearly averages and other macro-level statistics, but how do you know that you've done any good yourself? You probably won't.

It would be truly odd behavior for someone to come up to you on Monday and say, "you know, I didn't drink and drive this weekend because you and I talked about it last Friday. Thanks a lot." Or, "I'm going to go talk to the chaplain about my family situation because you cared enough to ask."

We just don't work that way.

Nevertheless, I am convinced that as we wrestle with how to make a difference in our fellow Airmen's lives, when we act as good Wingmen, we help protect every Airman we come in contact with. We won't be able to prevent every unfortunate incident, but we won't prevent any if we don't try. Never tire in doing good, keep talking to each other about these difficult subjects. You will probably never know the people you have helped--there are no metrics for "saves."