Our view: The measure of a man

Henry -

Whatever this community has today, it is less than it had before June 3.

Frank Henry died that day. With his death, the region and the world suffered a significant loss.

‘Mr. Henry’ as he was known by most, was the man and main force behind his family’s business, The Martz Group, a bus company that has grown remarkably over the last several decades. And during that time, Henry displayed the kind of servant leadership that could be used as a template for all bosses, whether they run a small business or a corporate giant.

All one has to do is to take the time to talk to any of Henry’s employees. They will tell you about the man behind the big desk who had a compassionate heart and a genuine concern for his family, his employees, his customers, his community and his peers.

Frank Henry managed to combine his wisdom and business sense with his love of family and community to set an example that we all can, and should, learn from.

One of Henry’s friends, Tom Pugh, knew Henry — the businessman and the community servant. Pugh formerly was vice president at Allied Services John Heinz Institute of Rehabilitation Medicine. He and Henry worked together on many community projects.

Pugh said his fondest memory of Frank Henry was seeing him standing on South Franklin Street on a cold, snowy day, next to a red kettle, raising money for the Salvation Army.

“Frank certainly was generous to that agency, but this was giving of himself,” Pugh said. “That’s leadership.”

And that was Frank Henry.

This community knows about many of Henry’s efforts to do what he could to make the community better. But there was so much more to Henry that never showed up in press releases, news stories or at honorary dinners.

And that’s just the way Henry wanted it.

Several long-term employees of The Martz Group got together this week to talk about their leader. It was difficult for them to speak of “Mr. Henry” in the past tense, but they each eloquently told of how he had touched their lives in very special ways.

Rose Hirel works as a dispatcher at Martz. She said six months after she was hired in 1999, she was diagnosed with breast cancer. Mr. Henry called her to his office.

“He told me that whatever I needed, he would do it for me,” Hirel said. “He told me not to worry about my job — that I could work when I could and to concentrate on my treatment.”

Hirel said Henry put her mind at ease, and she said she knew her job was safe and that Henry really cared about her.

On his first day on the job as human resources director, Ed Steltz said Henry told him he wanted to create an environment where people like coming to work every day. Steltz said Henry treated every individual like they were members of his family.

There’s a song by the late Kevin Sharp, a Make-A-Wish kid who went on to have a successful career as a country singer. The song is called “Measure of a Man.”

The song talks about judging a man “by the gold on the inside” and that “it’s not how much you make or what you take, but being strong and true to those counting on you.”

Kevin Sharp wrote those lyrics after being diagnosed with cancer.

The expression measure of a man was first used by the Greek philosopher Plato when he said: “The measure of a man is what he does with power.” It means we can understand what a man really is inside, can truly judge him, by what he does.

Frank Henry was the true measure of a man.