September, 2007
From the ASHI President.
Inspection News and Views from the American Society of Home Inspectors

Kevin Doyle # 1564 (1995), Mel Jacobs #115561 (2007)


Band of Brothers

If there’s one thing I’ve learned about ASHI, it’s how our members join together in time of need. Since the creation of the ASHI Forum, I’m sure everyone agrees that any technical exigency will be answered quickly. Before the Internet, a phone call or a visit to a chapter meeting was the way to satisfy that need. Readers of this column over the past few months will recognize that, in my view, the heart of ASHI is its members and chapters. 

Outpouring of personal support has always been a strong suit of ours, too. I’m sure every ASHI member can relate an instance to illustrate the point. I recall a conversation I had with Jules Falcone, a recipient of the John E. Cox Award. I asked him what kind of guy John was. “John gave selflessly to ASHI” was the answer. The last time Jules saw him it was in the hospital. John asked how the Standards of Practice changes were coming along. After John passed away, ASHI members joined together to pay homage to the Cox family by naming one of ASHI’s most prestigious awards in his honor. Clearly, John Cox had a huge impact not only on Jules, but also on many other inspectors.

One of the guys who made an impact on my life in ASHI is Kevin Doyle, the 1994-95 president of the Great Lakes Chapter. Kevin is low-key and speaks softly. At around 6'5" and about 20 stone, “gentle giant” might be a good description. I remember ASHI Past-President Cole Greenberg presenting an award to Kevin saying, “Great Lakes really is a big chapter!” That observation was prophetic. 

Many great leaders have to navigate through diversity during their terms. I guess if everything always ran smoothly, we wouldn’t need leaders. In Kevin’s case, he had two major hurdles during his presidency. The first was a financial crisis in the chapter. The second was a personal tragedy when Kevin and Pam’s house burned down. Help from many within the chapter mitigated the former; the help from many within the chapter and ASHI mitigated the latter.  

Like most ASHI inspectors, Kevin’s business, Tri-State Home Inspection, is a husband/wife business operated out of their home. They suffered not only the loss of personal property, most of which could not be replaced, but also much of their business records and equipment. With four teenagers living at home, one can only imagine the disruption of family life Pam and Kevin had to deal with. Our members pitched in with both financial resources and expertise in helping them rebuild their house and lives.

Recalling the incident four years later, I wrote in the GLC’s newsletter, The Laker,  “Probably the greatest lesson I learned from you and Pam was how to roll with the punches. During the middle of your presidency, first a huge financial conflagration enveloped the chapter, then an even bigger personal tragedy for you when your house burned to the ground. Yet, through it all, you kept the chapter running and even got it back on sound fiscal footing. A sign of a true leader is one who can keep his head while others are losing theirs.”

Mel Jacobs is another ASHI member who’s had a positive influence on me. Like Kevin, Mel is a past-president of GLC, has served on the COR and is currently the chair of the Chapter Relations Committee. Mel has been a great sounding board for me, often opening a dialog I hadn’t considered. Unfortunately, Mel was diagnosed with an aortic aneurysm, which required urgent surgery. Long story short, he had to travel to India in order to afford the operation. Like too many of us, he
doesn’t have adequate medical coverage. There is more information about Mel in the Letters section of this issue of the Reporter

The good news is that ASHI has been working hard on health care programs for our members. You should have seen that in last month’s Reporter.

Finally, I’d like to quote Carol Batko, Great Lakes Chapter executive director, who recently gave an emotional speech addressing what she has seen within ASHI, “Hats off to all of you for taking such good care of each other in time of crisis, I am so proud to be a part of this “brotherhood.”


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