“We all have a choice as to the type of person we decide to be,” said Chad Hennings, former three-time Super Bowl winner as a defensive tackle with the Dallas Cowboys.
Chad has more than a bit of experience making choices. He grew up in a small town in Iowa, became a state wrestling champ and an all-state football tight end while attending Benton Community High School in Van Horne, Iowa. After being offered full scholarships from a few universities he chose to attend the United States Air Force Academy. He graduated with honors in 1988 and entered undergraduate pilot training at Sheppard Air Force Base in Texas as part of the Euro-NATO Joint Jet Pilot Training Program. After becoming an A-10 pilot he was assigned in 1990 to the 92nd Tactical Fighter Squadron, part of the 81st Tactical Fighter Wing based in the United Kingdom.
Hennings was deployed twice to the Persian Gulf with the fighter squadron. While serving at an air base in Turkey, he flew 45 A-10 missions in support of Operation Provide Comfort, which brought relief and humanitarian aid to Kurdish refugees in northern Iraq. By 1992, he was promoted to captain after being awarded the Air Force Achievement Medal twice. In addition, he received a humanitarian award and an Outstanding Unit Award for his actions in the service. Only after finishing his military commitment later that year did he become a 27 year-old rookie with the Cowboys, ultimately earning three Super Bowl rings. Following his football career, the Flower Mound resident, who is married and has two children, became a Christian motivational speaker and author. His first book, “Rules of Engagement: Finding Faith and Purpose in a Disconnected World,” was published in 2009.
In my opinion, his recently published second book, “Forces of Character” should be required reading in our academic institutions and in the halls of Congress. I say that because we’re living in an age in which integrity has been sacrificed on the altar of political expediency. Some of the most prominent leaders in our country refuse to take a principled stand against the cultural depravity which has descended upon us during the past few decades. As a result of their lack of moral courage, our nation is, as one late, great jurist put it, slouching towards Gomorrah. In Chad’s latest book he asks questions of some of the most notable public figures in the country; people who have made the decision to put character ahead of personal ambition. From sports legends Roger Staubach, Jason Garrett and Troy Aikman, to Supreme Court Justice Clarence Thomas and holocaust survivor Dr. Edith Eger, along with a few lesser known, but equally significant leaders in their respective fields, Chad has put together a treasure chest of life experiences with the propensity to inspire the best qualities of human potential.
If you’ve ever been challenged by decisions that put your integrity on the line, you’ll see yourself in one or more of the remarkable episodes within the covers of this insightful book. In the video below you’ll hear Chad talk about some of the challenges to character is his own life, and what he learned from his mistakes. In the passage that begins, “I stole football cards from a little girl,” he illustrates how a single incident can have a major impact on one’s life. Unless you’re already perfect, you’re going to be lifted to a higher standard of excellence by the conversations in “Forces of Character.” Chad will have a book signing in Barnes and Noble at The Shops at Highland Village from 11am-1pm on Saturday, November 14th. More info at: www.forcesofcharacter.com.
Bob Weir is a long-time Flower Mound resident and former local newspaper editor.