In another indication that the National Structured Settlement Trade Association is beginning to return to it’s roots and make a meaningful impact in it’s members lives, last week they took the time to visit one of the great men of our profession and present him with a certificate of life time membership.
When I speak about someone being a “great man”, it isn’t a result of large professional achievements and a resume of board positions and industry honors. No, in Bill’s case it is a result of the accumulated years and decades of putting others first and handling his position in our some times contentious profession with grace, charm and humanity.
Bill and I have known each other professionally for much longer than either of us probably care to admit at this point. As I like to say, when we were starting in the structured settlement profession we both had a full head of dark hair and were both young and handsome, at least Bill was. I was a plaintiff expert, something that was exceedingly rare in the 1980’s and typically faced intense opposition and hostility from defense brokers, in particular from those who I claimed worked for the “evil empire” aka Ringler. However, on the cases where Bill was on the other side he never cared that I was a plaintiff guy, his singular focus was representing his clients honestly and effectively, but also recognizing the vital importance of getting the right plan in place for the injured party as well.
His concern for the sick, injured and vulnerable was a constant in every case he handled in which I was involved, as was his good humor, charm and professionalism. After I moved from Massachusetts to Arizona back in 1990, I saw less of Bill professionally, but we would usually have a case every now and then where we would get a chance to catch up and work together to insure the financial security of some client. Of course 90% of the time was spent talking about the Red Sox, but being the pro’s that we are, we could get the job done and still debate what why Dan Duquette had given up on Clemens, or other major matters of the day.
Now that Bill is facing what he himself describes as the ultimate irony, being afflicted with a medical condition named after a NY Yankee’s legend, with his typical good cheer, optimism and sense of perspective, it is a worthy reminder for everyone in our profession that it is possible to do a great job and be a great man, with out building walls and disagreeing on the direction of our profession, just for the sake of exercising power. You can be a top professional, a great guy and work to improve the lives of our most vulnerable citizens, all at the same time, something Bill proves every day. This award and the great affection we in the profession have for him is evidence of a life well led and that in the sum of his career, Bill Tocchi got way more right than he ever did wrong.
Congratulation Bill, now lets talk about the Red Sox.