I just got off the phone with former Auburn and University of Maine baseball standout Rick Lashua.

It is that time of year in which the Auburn-Lewiston Sports Hall of Fame announces its annual nominations. In the week leading up to the induction banquet, we’ll profile those athletes being recognized.

This year, my story will be on Lashua. What I like about these stories each year is that I get to look back at a person’s career and allow them to reflect back on how they achieved what they did. Inevitably, these people were able to accomplish great things not only because of their skill and hard work but also from the people around them that helped them on their way.

I think all of us can relate to that because none of us would be where we are today without the help of others that encouraged us, taught us, mentored us and guided us when we were younger. I can think of a number of people that played significant roles in my life. I may go into that topic a little deeper on my own blog in the coming days. If you’re on Facebook, go to my fan page (Kevin C. Mills, author) and it will link you to my own blog.

When I’ve done previous profiles on local inductees, I heard stories about how this coach taught them to pitch or how this person encouraged someone to do this or how that person made a difference here. There was always someone or many people that helped play a significant role with even the slightest of gestures.

These stories provide a nice glimpse of how these particular athletes accomplished what they did, but more importantly, they demonstrate something that we can all learn from. It shows that there are so many people that played vital parts in each of our developments. Not only do we need to take the time to recognize those contributions to our lives but see how we can make that kind of difference to others.

These stories also show athletes what it takes to get where they want to go. It takes a lot more than just God-given talent and parents that are willing to spend, transport and prod their kids toward the highest levels. It takes people and a community that can lift up its own and give them opportunities to succeed in whatever they wish. People that rise to great heights rarely ever do it alone.

I hate to use the common phrase “it takes a village” but that’s the gist of this. I published my first novel about year ago. It’s called Sons and Daughters of the Ocean, and its theme is very much about this same topic. It deals with how one’s environment shapes the lives of the people it breeds. It is a historical novel about the age of sail, something that was bred in me because of my own environment in which family history, maritime history and the sea became integral parts of who I am.  That novel is about to be republished by Maine Author’s Publishing.  You can find more info about my books on www. kevincmills.com.

Lashua is currently coaching his two young children and playing the kind of role his own family and community played for him as a budding young athlete. He says he’s enjoying this experience as much as he did any of his athletic endeavors.

These inductees have the opportunity to reflect back and retrace their steps toward the speech they’ll make at the banquet next week. The rest of us don’t have that responsibility upcoming but taking time to look back on our roots and our lessons learned can be time well spent.

I just read a story about a father who lost his son to extensive drug use. A significant part of that downward spiral was due to the company the son kept and the impact the drug use around him had in dictating his fate.

Life sometimes can be pretty cut and dried. We can either create a negative environment and watch the damage that inevitably follows or we can make a positive difference in whatever ways we can find. It not only makes our lives richer but also makes the world around us a better place.

These profiles are proof of the power of such positive environments. They not only reminds us what a difference so many people play in various lives but  also encourages an impact, even in the smallest of ways, we can all have in those lives around us.