“Shh…,” I whispered to my curious daughter, as she watched me hunker down under her bedroom window. I was on a Special Ops mission. “Operation Recycle It” was under way. My husband told me that for the past few months, he’s noticed the garbage guy coming around and throwing our recycled items into the same truck with the garbage. I was floored to hear that, considering all the rinsing, folding, breaking down and organizing I did to help the Earth, to have it all mixed in with the garbage.
My weapon of choice to battle the beast? My reliable Sony camera.
I recorded the moment so I could bring it to our Neighborhood Association and inform them of what I saw. I crouched with my inquisitive three-year old, looking through the corner of her window, and clicked the record button as the truck backed up, parallel to our garbage and recyclables.
One thing I know about confronting organizations is you have to do your research and come with enough information, examples and proof to get your opinion or views heard. Once I captured my footage as proof, I ran to the computer to do a little research, and then contacted one of my most reliable friends, Chuck Vasalos, who just happens to work in the industry.
I’m an Operations Manager, running a hauling company for an international solid waste corporation. I’ve achieved a pretty respectable position in a very stable and resilient industry, since 9/11/01, without having a college degree, (but) through hard work and dedication.
I knew he had better knowledge of how recycled items are handled on a standard basis and asked him some general, non-incriminating questions so that I would have a good understanding of how facilities typically run. Then I handled the rest, bringing the issue to my Association. As I suspected, a barrage of defenses bumped like a volleyball back onto my side, but I went for the spike and smashed the doubt right out of their mouths, by sharing the video footage I had. Though Chuck provided me information that I’m sure he’d say I could find easily on Google, having a friend to go and talk to who would provide me with facts and opinions boosted my motivation to go and accomplish what my gut smacked me to do.
Chuck could have ignored me. He could have told me he couldn’t help. But he instead showed a genuine care and concern as a friend, and that has stayed with me through the years. And what came of “Operation Recycle It?” Mission accomplished. The company straightened the crooked out. Success!
Chuck is my classmate from high school whom I got to know on a much better level as an adult, as a parent, and as a good friend. I’ve learned he’s also a picture bomber, so watch your back when you know he’s arrived. Somehow he sneaks into your picture and leaves his mark.
Case in point:
He is incredibly professional, level-headed, fun and honest. He shares his information by calling things as he sees them. Raw honesty. To some, that can be a hard pill to swallow, but for me it’s the truth, and in times where our brains are occupied remembering passwords, talking to inanimate robotic voicemails, scrolling through every disclaimer before signing or clicking “I agree,” and ignoring every verbal disclaimer in prescription ads on television, it’s refreshing to get the facts, get them raw, and know they’re coming from an honest place.
We’ve shared many opinions, worries and wonder over all sorts of topics through email and phone, and the more I got to know the grown-up Chuck, the more I wish I had the time to get to know the Chuck I knew passing me in the halls in high school.
I’m sure he’ll tell me he’s made plenty a mistake in his life, but in getting to know him, I can still say that when all is said and done in a world filled with issue, Chuck’s made decisions grand enough to be successful in his relationship, happily married to his wife, Jessica, for 14 years. How did he know she was the one?
I firmly believe that I didn’t make that decision. Faith in something much larger than me strongly influenced my judgment to do everything in my power not to let her get away.
In these years where many people have turned to divorce or preferred to avoid marriage, I asked Chuck what he felt it takes a relationship to survive. He answered,
Any relationship, friendship, family, marriage, requires communication. When I say communication, that’s in two very important forms: speaking, of course; and listening, which is a skill many people don’t have or gets impeded by emotion during heated exchanges. When the communication stops, the relationship begins to erode.
The two parties don’t have to agree on everything; that’s unrealistic. But they both have to attempt to understand where the other is coming from. If they care about that person, they’ll make every attempt to do so.
He’s a loyal, loving, caring, and responsible husband. As a father, he’s a Daddy, a coach, and the most invaluable friend his children will ever have in their lives. Chuck is also an incredible family man who puts his family first. Why? For Chuck, it’s important for him to raise his sons and daughter to become people of quality in this world. All these things and more lit my path to finding the next male panelist for The Dating GPS™.
His hobbies themselves expose the fun-loving, patient guy, and the hard core man’s man who puts the alpha in alpha male:
I mostly enjoy spending time with my family. I love football (specifically NFL football and my Bears), playing it with my boys. I hope to get back into coaching, if time permits.
I recently got back into weightlifting and enjoy that immensely. I love to draw, and look forward to being [an] old Florida retiree when I can dedicate my time to painting and sculpting as well. Scrabble and cooking [are] very therapeutic for me (and of course eating is too!).
Oh and don’t forget testosterone-fueled video games, like Call of Duty: MW3 and Need for Speed: Hot Pursuit. Those are guilty pleasures I just cannot deny myself.
With his organic experience and knowledge in what it takes to keep a marriage, a woman and a family filled with love, and working through multi-levels of hardship to get to where he is today, Chuck serves as a fantastic example of a man who was and is worthy of a woman’s love.
He’s also the friend who’d rather tell you the truth than support lies we tell ourselves disguised as possibilities that have more of a chance to harm you in the end.
With Chuck’s panelist view in The Dating GPS™, you’ll receive a male perspective wrapped in a genuine hope for you to find an appreciation in men; a feeling which usually gets misguided among the menutia many women encounter on their journey to finding love.