Saturday, July 30, 2011

The Importance of Vetting

Usually when we hear of vetting, it has to do with political candidates or with high level employees.

Yet vetting is important in all kinds of areas. As Brie Vandekamp (of ABC's Desperate Housewives) says, "Perfection is in the small details."

vettingpresent participle of vet (Verb)

  1. Make a careful and critical examination of (something).
  2. Investigate (someone) thoroughly, esp. in order to ensure that they are suitable for a job requiring secrecy, loyalty, or trustworthiness.
While we were in Northern Kentucky last month closing up mom's home, my daughter found some items that belong to a high-school friend of my mother, Colonel Maynard 'Dusty' Rhodes, Ret.

Dusty quit Sarasota High School in his Junior year (perhaps exaggerating that he was older than he was) to join the Army Air Corp, which became the Air Force and retired 30 years later. He was awarded the Distinguished Flying Cross. He flew in World War II, Korea, and Viet Nam wars.

And he's still alive!

We shipped back a number of boxes of important things, including his cross, one epaulet wing, and photo. I found him (through his campaign contributions!), and had several conversations with him. From his conversation I picked up information about his son, Clifford. Cliff is an attorney in Florida, and oversees his father's care. Cliff and I also had some pleasant chats.

Now you can already see how I've vetted the Colonel. It gets better...

Since I'm causing him to wait for his things (neither of then knew the materials were with my mother!),
I started their family tree in

For the longest time I struggled with the information about Maynard's mother. I was sure from the censi reports that she was much older than she reported to be. But how can you lie about be 18 years younger than you say? Perhaps for a while, but eventually your age will show...especially as a woman and with child bearing.

When his parents married, the census 'overview' stated that his father's "Mother In Law" lived with them. When I looked at the original document, the census-taker had written "Grandmother In Law." YIKES! There's another generation that has been skipped!

And then I found it...when his mother was born, his maternal grandmother died from the birth (and she was only a teen). His mother was raised by her grandmother (his great grandmother) her entire life. When his parents married, her grandmother came along.

WOW. If I had never vetted the details from the original census document, we'd never known that there was a missing member of the family.

Even when I asked Maynard about his mother, he said he knew very little about his parents (and he was one of youngest in the family).

He has, BTW, one of the most interesting trees I've seen. They are Southerners, and had several members in the Civil War. After the war one of his relatives, a war widow-turned-seamstress with young children, lived in all-black neighborhood in Florida.

Now that's community.