Friday, February 27, 2009
Meet Jeff Stone, the County Supervisor of Riverside County in California. Many of you are probably wondering why we should care about him and how is he so likable that he gets his own Person of the Day. Well Jeff Stone isn't just your ordinary county supervisor. He goes above and beyond his call of duty and the way he serves his county is unparalleled. He's one of those admirable people where the more you know about him, the more you feel like he's the older brother you never had. How did this man rise to a position of such great power? He learned from experiences along the way and kept himself humble by the people he surrounded himself with. He's known as County Supervisor today, but what a lot of people don't know is he had a very successful pharmacy career that would become the building blocks to where he is today. Sit back and relax, and just take in a wonderful story about a man living the American Dream.
Jeff Stone grew up in the diverse city of Anaheim where he was introduced to many different cultures and all walks of life. Even as just a wee toddler, he was developing an appreciation for people that would serve as a backbone for the ethics and integrity he has today which act as a moral compass to the very difficult decisions he has to make on a daily basis. He lived a very modest upbringing. He saw that the way to success was an honest living and that was only achieved by hard work.
Jeff's early adulthood would be very rewarding but come with enormous challenges. In 1983 Jeff saw an opportunity. There were thousands of people living in the city of Temecula, yet when people there needed to get their medications they had to drive out for miles to the nearest pharmacy. Jeff opened up his own pharmacy which he named "Temecula Pharmacy" and made a killing in profits. For a while everything was going just fine for Jeff. There were some bumps along the way, which became excellent learning opportunities. Jeff was and still is a student of life and always takes the time to look at every situation as a tool to better himself. The California state Board of Pharmacy were major crybabies and were always looking for every little violation that Jeff Stone did. At one point there 20 accusations lodged against him by the Board of Pharmacy. Fortunately he was able to get 16 of them dismissed by using good persuasion tactics, and most people don't even know about the 4 that actually stuck. Long story short, he admitted to committing four improper business practices. They were probably for very silly things to begin with like not giving patients the right medication. You know how those Pharmacy Boards can be. But Jeff took the challenges head on without fear, because he understands that life is full of challenges and if you don't meet them head on you'll get run over. That's definitely up there with our top 10 admirable traits.
One day a woman named Sharon Di Meglio went to Jeff Stone's pharmacy to get her prescription for 7.5mcg of Liothyronine filled. What happened next created a stir that would be Jeff's second real test as a pharmacist, and most importantly, a human being. Instead of Ms. Di Meglio getting 7.5mcg of her medication from Jeff's pharmacy, what she received instead was a lethal dose that gave her permanent brain damage. When you're in business as a pharmacist, you obviously can't always spend all your time checking the dosages because checking to see how you're money is doing in the stock market takes up a lot of your time. Besides, that's what pharmacy techs are for. Jeff definitely knew the importance of delegating tasks.
So here you have a man of great integrity and character, and he's having the challenge of his life to deal with this potential PR disaster the best he can. What he did next was very genius, and anyone in a tough public relations situation can learn from this: he used to run and hide approach. The media was calling his phone off the hook, both to his personal phone and to his pharmacy. Did he take the bait and answer the calls? Did he confess to giving the patient a lethal dose? Of course not; he'd be an idiot to do that. A lot of money is at stake here - remember he was the owner of the pharmacy and any hit that pharmacy takes is a direct hit to his own pocketbook. At a time of crisis, Jeff did exactly what he needed to do, and he did it with the calmness of a patient sedated with Demerol.
Fast forward to today. Our pharmacy boy is all grown up now and is the Riverside County Supervisor. You're probably starting to understand a little about why this great man is worthy of his own day. We'll leave you with this for now and will get to more of his triumphs and tribulations in the coming days. There's definitely a lot to admire in this great man, and we can learn a lot from his character and determination.