WORCESTER, Mass. - The loss of Colin Powell hits close to home for one local veteran. On Monday, U.S. Army veteran, Bruce Mendelsohn, shared his experience meeting the former U.S. Secretary of State.
Powell passed away due to complications from COVID-19. Powell was fully vaccinated, according to his family, who shared the news in a Facebook post. Powell was 84 years old.
Powell was a retired four-star general who served in several Republican administrations.
Powell served as National Security Advisor to President Ronald Reagan, then as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff under President George H.W. Bush, and became the the nation's first black Secretary of State under President George W. Bush.
Mendelsohn met General Powell before the Persian Gulf War, when he was serving as Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. On his tour of bases, Powell, a former ROTC graduate himself, spoke to Mendelsohn and others graduating from their basic course.
Mendelson says Powell's words helped to encourage them to mentally achieve an equal footing with the graduates from the United States Military Academy. He says Powell was a real inspiration to him and his fellow officers, and says the advice he gave has stayed with him throughout his career as a civilian.
"(Powell) said surround yourself with people who were smarter than you and let them work. He said 'Perfection is the enemy of good enough,' which is a great expression," Mendelsohn said. "He said always volunteer for extra training, you know stuff that most people have heard about, but coming from him, I think, had more gravitas."
Mendelsohn says Powell was a man of integrity, who was down to earth and was always with the troops when he could be.