Categorized | Education

Navy Seal speaks at Parker School


In February, Bill White, a retired Navy Seal and owner of Hale Kea Farms in Waimea, visited the Parker School campus as part of the school’s Speaker Series. He spoke to a group of juniors and seniors about his experience as a Navy Seal.

The Speaker Series, the brainchild of school supporter Rea Callender, was launched in 2005, and brings in two to three speakers per year, all of whom are deemed successful leaders in their field. They are invited to speak to and inspire juniors and seniors who are readying for college and the future.

Bill White

Bill White

Past presenters include George Zimmer of Men’s Wearhouse, Peter Merriman of Merriman’s Restaurants, and bestselling author John Saul.

Originally from Irvine, Calif., White spent three years in the armed services as an officer and a Navy Seal after graduating from Stanford University in 1962. He then started Arrow Rigging and Construction Company and built and managed the Orange County International Raceway. In 1972 he founded Blanco Investments & Land, Ltd., a development and financial planning business.

Hale Kea Farms in Waimea makes up the Hawaii division of that company, and is where White has lived for the last 35 years. He is involved in numerous local and national philanthropic organizations.

White’s message of giving nothing less than your best and never giving up seemed to hit home with all the students, regardless of whether they were considering a military career.

White read to his audience the quote attributed to Winston Churchill, “Never, never, ever, ever, give up,” as well as an excerpt from the book The Heart and the Fist by Navy Seal Eric Greitens.

White said that the title alone captures what Navy Seals are taught: “that there are times when you have to be tough and times when you have to be compassionate,” and the importance of discerning between the two.

As part of his presentation, White shared a video of him as a Navy Seal, jumping from a plane, and also showed country star Keith Urban’s video of the hit song For You, which was written specifically for the 2012 movie about Navy Seals, Act of Valor.

All proceeds from that song go to the Navy Seals Foundation, of which White serves on the board of directors.

Of his experience at Parker, White said, “Overall, I didn’t know what to expect. My first thought was that I’d be facing a bunch of teens playing on their iPhones. But I was so impressed with the attentiveness of the kids, (and) the way they reacted (to the presentation). A couple of kids came up and thanked me afterwards, and I really appreciated that.”

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