I met my hero recently. It was the most amazing thing. Sure I have met Kate Mulgrew (Captain Janeway) on several occasions, but this goes above and beyond an actor and their fictional character. This goes into history.
For years I have read every book I could find on the early days of Mission Control. I have studied the days where every day was a new feat and every mission was a first time. I have grown to idolize the men in the first Mission Control rooms, the men that set man on the moon for the first that, that brought back Apollo 13, and faced the burden of loss with Apollo 1. These men have become names of heroes and legends to me as I grew up wanting to do what they did. men like Chris Kraft who envisioned the idea, John Aaron who single handedly saved Apollo 12 with one command - "Set SCE to AUX" and to Gene Kranz, the vest wearing white flight that set Apollo 11 on the moon and brought Apollo 13 home. I work and walk in their footsteps every day at work and that thrills me. I am even more thrilled that now I have the chance to meet some of these living legends, a few still work here, such as Herb Baker a man famous for his involvement with the early days of the shuttle.
I have dreamed of meeting Gene Kranz for a very long time. I have stated many times that part of my goal is that I want to be to the Mars program what Gene Kranz was to Apollo. So when I suddenly had an opportunity to spend some time with Flight Director Kranz, I was beyond the moon's orbit. I only spent 20 mins with him. But in that time he regaled me with stories, showed me some amazing space memorabilia, and spoke nothing but encouragement and inspiration to me. It was a truly magical moment in life. I am truly grateful for the opportunity to meet my #1 mission control Idol. Mr. Gene Kranz.
I am now in debt to the friend and mentor here in Houston that was able to make this moment happen. Thank you Jeff.