Help the Fisherman: Share Your Stories of Leadership through Action

Blog, Leadership through Action | 10/15/2020

As the coronavirus pandemic continues to rage across the globe, it’s important to highlight what brings us together. In a new video from Marie Tillman Shenton, our cofounder and board chair, we’re sharing a story from Pat’s life on how important it is to help others and honor those who choose service and humble leadership.

We’re asking you to share your stories of kindness and compassion through the pandemic on social media. We’ll be choosing some to highlight on our website—to join the conversation, share your stories online with the hashtag #LeadThroughAction.

Below, watch the video and read the transcript, and then join us in how you’ve seen people around you lead through action throughout the pandemic.

Hello,  I’m Marie Tillman, co-founder and chair of the board of the Pat Tillman Foundation.  

In the years since Pat’s death, people have understandably asked me what would Pat have thought about the state of the world and its current events. While I don’t speak for Pat, I am sure he would have been as baffled by the uncertainty as all of us are and I do think he would have applauded the countless examples of selfless action, of kindness and compassion towards others that are the silver lining to this tragic pandemic.

With that, I want to leave you with a story and a challenge that i hope reinforces your purpose today and going forward a challenge to continue helping others and to see the good in the world.  

When Pat and I lived in Tacoma, we often parked at the top of a bluff and walked down a steep stairway to the beach. On one occasion, we took our walk and were about to climb back up the steps when we saw an old fisherman, struggling with a line on his boat. Pat turned and approached the fishermen and before I reached the first step, he’d clambered aboard the man’s boat and was helping him.

Pat was always doing things large and small to help other people, no matter what he was doing or how absorbed he was and what he needed to get done on any given day, he’d always stop. He’d always help the fishermen.  

I constantly imagine what the world would be like if everyone was like that. Pat saw the world the way he thought it should be; that it wasn’t always that way, well, that was beside the point. He chose to see it the way he wanted it to be. It was an embrace of a world where people don’t just sit around and let events transpire, be it a fisherman’s struggle with a net or a global pandemic, we instead take an active role in making things better.

I ask you today to consider the fishermen all around you, the ones you see, the ones you’ve yet to notice. In Pat’s spirit or better yet in your own, offer help where you can. Be open to others who want to offer the same to you in perhaps your moment of need. Then tell us your stories, large and small.

The Pat Tillman Foundation is collecting these stories to broadcast on our website as a way to show the power of collective compassion. Share your stories on social media and with the hashtag LeadThroughAction and see other stories on our website at

The COVID-19 pandemic feels weighty and immense but we will get through it together. The lessons we choose to learn about our compassion for our fellow citizens could have a more lasting effect as we rebuild. So be good to yourselves and help the fishermen.

Thank you.