As a young boy Carl had two role models. The first was Douglas Bader, a famous WWII fighter ace, who, despite losing his legs before the war went on to lead squadrons of Spitfires and Hurricanes into battle.
The other role model was his Dad. Here was a man who could fix anything, seemed to know the answer to every question and who taught Carl how to fish, ride his bike, give a firm handshake and stand up to bullies.
As Carl got older he started to meet other men that he could look up to. All of them different and not all action heroes like Douglas Bader or his undercover policeman father. But they all had something in common. They were comfortable in their own skin.
A few times in his working life Carl worked for bosses whose methods and approach he didn’t agree with. Sometimes he would see them make what he felt were bad decisions or demonstrate behaviour he couldn’t condone. He could have moaned behind their backs but he didn’t. For him, being a man of honour meant never speaking ill of them and never contradicting them in front of others — certainly not behind their backs!
Perhaps the greatest example of character is found in selflessness and sacrifice. Stories of men who have laid down their life for others are incredibly stirring.
A couple of years ago while on a reconnaissance mission in Southern Afghanistan Matt stepped into a tripwire that pulled the pin from a booby-trap grenade. Without hesitation he threw himself down onto the grenade. He experienced something of a miracle escaping unscathed except for a nosebleed when his rucksack took the force of the blast. Speaking later he said, “I thought, I’ve set this bloody thing off and I’m going to do whatever it takes to protect the others. I’m very tight with the three other guys. There have been times when they have saved my bacon.”
So there you have it — his instinct was to give it all for his mates who had stood by him on a daily basis. Now that’s character.