Goodbye 55

Junior Seau - (FILE) Junior Seau 1969 - 2012

Just when you think you’ve got life all figured out it comes up behind you and smacks you in the head with something else.

Oceanside, CA. is an ocean front town about 30 miles  north of downtown San Diego. Its home to a eclectic mix of different nationalities. It’s also just south of Camp Pendleton Marine Corps Base, the busiest military base in the United States. I have come to love Oceanside and some of my favorite people live and work here.

Of course no story about Oceanside can be complete without mentioning our favorite son, Tiaina “Junior” Seau

It’s also home to Oceanside High School, where the Pirates ran amok on the football field. One of their alumni was a Samoan Standout football player named Tiaina “Junior” Seau. Junior created mismatches and struck fear in his opponents. He went on to USC with the same work ethic and earned a ticket to the NFL. In 1990 he was chosen 5th overall in the 1st round by his home town San Diego Chargers and couldn’t have been more excited for the opportunity to play at the highest level in front of his family and friends.

He was known for his passionate playing style, he was a 10-time All-Pro, 12-time Pro Bowl selection, and named to the NFL 1990s All-Decade Team.  He was the focal point of the defense and the team as a whole.

I don’t think there is an NFL football quarterback who doesn’t have their favorite Junior story.

This past May 2, 2012 Junior took his own life leaving behind a legacy that will live on despite him not being here in body. His soul and spirit will live on through his aloha that he demonstrated while he was here on this earth. He left behind his ex-wife Gina  and their four children, brothers and sisters and the family Patriarch & Matriarch, Mama & Papa Seau who all live in Oceanside. Prayers should also go out to Megan Noderer, who seems to have gotten lost in the aftermath. She was Junior’s girlfriend and  the person who found Junior in his home on the Strand. Right below is the call that Megan Noderer made to 911, but it was too late.

There is no question that Junior was Oceanside’s Favorite Son. He was involved in his community and never forgot where he came from. He was always giving back to Oceanside, was always seen with a smile and if he met you once he’d remember you as if you were lifelong friends and he’d always called you “Buddy.”

I had the pleasure to meet Junior twice, the first time was at the LaDainian Tomlinson Celebrity Golf Tournament. My ex-father in law is a huge NFL fan  so I took him. We met Junior at the Reception afterwards and I remember him asking if I was Hawaiian.  He had a special place in his heart for the Hawaiians and Samoans. The second time was at a business lunch at Seau’s in Mission Valley, one of the attendees lived out of state and kept asking if Junior ever came into the restaurant, he wanted to meet his football hero. After the 3rd or 50th time he asked about Junior I looked up to see Junior walking our way. His familiar “Hey Buddy, Howzit” was how he addressed me and then he asked if I had been home to Hawaii recently. I introduced him to the other guys at the table and they were impressed by how “down home” Junior was and his friendliness towards strangers.

The Junior Seau Foundation sponsors three major programs each year to benefit children and was built on the following mission statement:

To educate and empower young people through the support of child abuse prevention, drug and alcohol awareness, recreational opportunities, anti-juvenile delinquency efforts and complimentary educational programs.

Shop with a Jock®  

Each December, the Junior Seau Foundation Teamed up with Target and over 250 local professional and amateur athletes to give 250 underprivileged children from the Boys and Girls Clubs of San Diego the opportunity to shop for gifts for their loved ones.

Scholars of Excellence Program

This program was designed to recognize young men and women who are dedicated to both personal and academic excellence. Financial assistance is granted to high school graduates who have the grades and the desire, but not the means, to attend a four year college or university. In 2011 the Foundation awarded 25 scholarships amounting to $107,500 in financial aid.

Thanksgiving at SEAU’s The Restaurant

Every Thanksgiving Junior hosts a dinner for 700+ clients of non-profit agencies, including homeless shelters, rehab centers, victims of domestic violence and military families at SEAU’S The Restaurant in Mission Valley.

Junior Seau Foundation Around Town

Junior’s footprint can be found all over San Diego as it worked hard  to empower and educate young people in the community. From funding athletic fields in La Mesa to underwriting a van to transport special education students enrolled at the Stein Education Center in Chula Vista, his Foundation has focused on making a direct impact in the community and will continue to do so even after . The foundation continues to allocate funds for programs that inspire young people to face life’s challenges with enthusiasm, hope and dignity.

I wanted this to be right so that is why it’s 2 weeks after Junior’s passing, Junior and his spirit of aloha, a smile that could light up an entire stadium, and that now too familiar phrase “Hey Buddy” will be missed

Junior was only 43, far too young to leave this earth, again another sad reminder that we don’t know when our time is up here. Make sure that you tell those around you that you love them. Give them a hug just because. Do something totally unexpected for someone, but do it now, don’t wait because then it might be too late.

Below is a link to the 911 call from Junior’s house. Credit goes to Oceanside P.D. Fire Department & the dispatcher for doing their best to keep Junior’s girlfriend somewhat grounded.

Sage Summit 2011; It’s All About Location

Location, Location, Location. It’s the most important axiom in real estate. An axiom is a universally accepted principle or rule that requires no proof.  Thus the setting for this year’s Inaugural Sage Summit 2011 where you will get to experience many firsts for Sage’s Premiere Conference.

Despite it teeming population of politicians Washington D.C. remains a can’t miss city. The history of the country is incomparable & it certainly has lots to offer in the way of museums, opera, major theatres all abound in great numbers offering the best in entertainment value as most if not all the museums don’t charge an admission fee.

One can literally walk through American history by visiting The Lincoln & Washington monuments, 1600 Pennsylvania Ave. (The White House) The Mall, site of Martin Luther Kings’s “I have A Dream” speech, an event that attracted 250,000 people without the help of the Internet, Facebook, LinkedIn or Twitter & of course the black granite Vietnam Veterans Memorial Wall where the names of 58,267 service men and women who died or remain missing are listed in chronological order. It is a powerful monument that is both reflective and contemplative in character. It doesn’t make any political statement about the war. You could spend several days visting all the quality sights that D.C. has to offer but please  take at least one day to visit them while you’re here.

The Gaylord National Hotel & Conference Center is actually located on the Potomac River in National Harbor in Maryland which is only a short ride from Reagan Airport making it very accessible to Washington D.C. I’ve included a link to a site that details getting around the D.C. area.

The Gaylord hotels are known for their splendor, size & overall attention to small and large conferences. There is plenty to do while staying at a Gaylord property from great accommodations, fine restaurants to fantastic shopping available without ever stepping outside the Resort.

This year’s National Conference has changed its format to include both Sage Partners, Vendors and now Sage customers. This should prove to be a winning combination. I’ve had the privilege to interact via e-mail with Suzanne Spear who is Sage’s Director of Events and members of her team that include Danielle Cote, VP, Event Marketing @ Sage. They have been working on this year’s conference for at least the past year to make sure that we all walk away better educated by a plethora of breakout sessions, including many interactive ones. 

Please make sure that if you see them or any member of their team at the Conference to thank them for all of their hard work that they’ve put into Sage Summit 2011.

In addition to the breakout sessions the Keynote Speakers should be a big hit. I’m looking forward to Wednesday afternoon’s Keynote Speakers Sean and Leigh Anne Tuohy. They are the Memphis couple who took a homeless teenager into their home and treated him like their own. That youngster is Michael Oher who went from living on the streets, to living with the entire Tuohy family,  to being picked in the 1st round of the 2009 NFL Draft by the Baltimore Ravens. If you haven’t a clue of what I speak watch the movie “Blindside.” It chronicles Michael’s story in a very compassionate way and reminds me that no matter what obstacles may be put in front of me I can always succeed if I want something bad enough even though the deck is stacked high against me.

On Wednesday evening the site for a Dinner Reception will be at the Smithsonian National Air & Space Museum. It promises for great evening in a relaxed environment and fun.

You have to show up for the Fire and Ice Partner Party on Monday from 7:30 to 11:00 This year partner appreciation party will offer live music, games, great food and drink, plus other surprises. You won’t want to miss one-of-a-kind performances by talented musicians from all across the Sage partner community, who are going to rock out together at the party!

I could go on about what is shaping up for an incredible event, but simply put don’t miss out on attending.

On a personal note I love going to the National Conference and making new friends and catching up with old ones. I get to spend time with some of my favorite Sage people. One of my goals early on was to meet this partner who is highly visible with his online presence, Wayne Schulz. He and I now talk each week about all things Sage and I consider Wayne a good friend. If it weren’t for Insights I would have never had the opportunity to meet him. I also try my best to get to each of Ed Kless’s sessions as they’re always jam packed with great information. 

This is shaping up to be a benchmark conference, one that will stand out as a template for future conferences. Don’t miss out on this annual event. It’s far too important to not attend. For more nformation go to:

I hope to see each of you there.