"You never really know if you find the right one until you find the right one and then, you know."
Narrator: Welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast. Join your host, Japhet De Oliveira with his guest today and discover the moments that shape us, our families and communities.
Japhet De Oliveira: Well, welcome friends to another episode of The Story & Experience Podcast and our guest today, brand new, first time as are all the guests so far, first time for them. It's going to be exciting because he's actually a good storyteller and he loves to tell stories. And in this little soundcheck we just did, he did a rhyme as well. So he's a pretty creative. This is going to be fun. I'm excited about this. I'm going to, if anybody whose brand new, the way it works, that we have a hundred questions, they become more vulnerable, more open about stories and experiences that shape your life and turn this person into a particular leader, the great leader that he is today. So, let's begin straight away with the first question, first 10 I'll do. What's your name? And does anybody ever mess it up or is it pretty straightforward?
David Butler: Well, my name is David Butler and it's pretty straightforward although, I have been called David Butter and David Buckner, but they haven't messed up David yet.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. That's good. Well, good for you. First name at least is good. David, what do you do for work?
David Butler: I'm the president of Adventist Health Delano and Adventist Health Tehachapi here in Kern County, central California.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Two fantastic hospitals. That's superb. And how long have you been in this current role?
David Butler: The current role is a little bit over two years. So started in January 2020.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Good. Actually, was there something momentous? Is that when Delano came on or onto the system or?
David Butler: Yes, that's when Delano came on and joined the system was January 1, 2020.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK.
David Butler: Actually started back in March of 2019, helping with the transition.
Japhet De Oliveira: Hey, that's great. That's great. Well, let's begin with a couple of other simple ones. In the morning when you get up, do you like to have tea, coffee, water, or one of the liquid green smoothies?
David Butler: I'm a water guy in the morning. I like to take my vitamins that my wife sets out for me and then I pile it down with a bunch of water and then I have some liquid cayenne that I put into my water and drink that because cayenne is so good for you.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. A fiery David Butler. All right. That's great. And water, just like tap water or anything?
David Butler: We have reverse osmosis that we hooked up, so it cleans it up, takes out all the carbon stuff.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. That's good. David, where were you born?
David Butler: I was born in New Jersey, a little town called Blairstown, and my family grew up there and that's where most of my relatives were, a lot of them have cascaded throughout the entire country, but that was our origin.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's great. I presume you've been back there?
David Butler: Last time I've been there was probably 12 years ago.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. And then when you were back there, as a child, what did you imagine you were going to grow up to be?
David Butler: Boy, probably two things. My dad was a dentist, so there was some interest in being a dentist, not a lot, but there was a little interest and then I loved sports. And when I was younger, I always thought I'd be like a PE coach.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice. Not a PE coach that actually helped with hockey, otherwise, they'd had to visit the dentist all the time.
David Butler: That's right.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. Fair enough. Personality, David, would people describe you as an introvert or an extrovert? And would you agree?
David Butler: I would. People basically describe me as an extrovert. I love being around people. I'm not shy. I do love, there comes a time when I want my peace and quiet that I think-
Japhet De Oliveira: Everybody does.
David Butler: ... everybody does. Right? But my wife has even made me take a test just to verify and said, "Oh, Nope, you're full blown extrovert."
Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. And are you an early riser or a late night owl?
David Butler: As I get older, I like to get to bed earlier, but I'm an early riser. I get up at 4:35, 5:00.
Japhet De Oliveira: Nice.
David Butler: And I enjoy it. I spend a lot of quiet time in my devotions and I go for a walk. I feed the animals. So it's peaceful in the morning.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. You just said animals. Do you have an entire zoo or?
David Butler: If it was my daughter's idea, we'd have a zoo. She's an animal lover, but we have a dog and three cats. And then where we live, we saw a mountain lion two weeks ago, a bobcat a week ago, and then there's elk and deer all through our property.
Japhet De Oliveira: And do you feed the mountain lion or no? All right. That's great. All right. This morning, what was the first thought that went through your mind?
David Butler: This morning, was that I did not get enough sleep.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. I know that feeling sometimes. I'm with you. All right then. And then here's the last one? It's a leadership question. Are you a backseat driver?
David Butler: No, but I can, but not typically.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right.
David Butler: I have to hold back.
Japhet De Oliveira: You have to hold back. So you're very far from the back, all right. That's great. Well, look, time has moved on to this next section here. So now you get to pick David between 11 and 100 where you want to go and let's see what stories and experiences we learn about you.
David Butler: Awesome. Well, I'm going to choose lucky 13.
Japhet De Oliveira: Lucky 13. All right. Walk us through the ideal end of your day.
David Butler: Ah, boy, the ideal end of my day would be no physician complaints, no pension complaints, no employee complaints. And that I can leave work and get home at a reasonable time to see my kids, come in and give me a hug, my wife, give me a kiss. That would be my ideal end of the day.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. I hope you have a few of those. All right. After 13, where now? Up or down,
David Butler: I'm thinking I'm going to go to number 19.
Japhet De Oliveira: 19. All right. What's your exercise routine?
David Butler: Ah, great. With three knee surgeries, running's completely out of the picture.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK.
David Butler: I'm a walker. I like to aggressively walk and then I love playing pickle ball, racketball, baseball, basketball, football, volleyball, anything that has a ball or a racket.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. What's that one that you have a stick and you have a ball and a string and you throw it and try to land it on the stick? I don't know what that's called.
David Butler: Oh yeah. I forget what that's called, but that is fun.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. Let's go after 19, where do you want to go up or down?
David Butler: Up? Let's go to 21.
Japhet De Oliveira: 21. All right. Share the very best compliment you've ever received.
David Butler: When I left Tillamook, they did a word puzzle for me, and then they put it onto a picture frame. And the word that meant the most to me of all those words was meek. It doesn't always come out natural, but it's been humility and meekness has been a study of mine for a long time. And my desire is to become a very meek man.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's really nice. That is good. All right. I like that after 21, where next, up or down?
David Butler: How about 28? Up.
Japhet De Oliveira: 28. All right. If you had to give an impromptu, this would be easy for you, an impromptu 30 minute presentation, what would the topic be?
David Butler: It would not be on COVID. I'll tell you that, I'm done with that.
Japhet De Oliveira: Are you done with that? I think we're all done with that.
David Butler: I think it would be health and wellness. It's a passion of mine and it's something I've been studying and practicing for a long time and I enjoy it. I would love doing a presentation on health and wellness.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. Good. I look forward to seeing it sometime. Impromptu, of course. [crosstalk 00:09:23] Yeah. All right. After 28?
David Butler: I'm going to go to 11.
Japhet De Oliveira: 11. All right. Tell us about the most adventurous food meal you've ever eaten.
David Butler: Adventurous food meal. Wow. I would say, when I lived in South Padre Island, Texas there was a little, they called a little Palapa Bar that you could order food. I was with a friend of mine and he, I don't really meat or shellfish and all that stuff, but he talked me into taking a taste of an oyster.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK.
David Butler: And that was the most interesting experience I ever had because it didn't stay in my mouth very long and it was not a pretty sight.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. Courage to you. Well, you're a braver man than me. All right. Brilliant. All right. Where next, actually, it's only up after 11.
David Butler: Yep. We can just end it on that one.
Japhet De Oliveira: I know.
David Butler: All right, how about 35?
Japhet De Oliveira: 35, all right. Share a special interest, David, a unique talent that you have.
David Butler: There's some tongue twisters that not many people can say. There's one called Theophilus Thistledown, the successful thistle-sifter. At one time, in one of our church events, they asked me to go up and share a couple of tongue twisters, and that was interesting.
Japhet De Oliveira: That is unique. You and Mary Poppins would do really well together. All right, 35, up or down?
David Butler: Let's go to 42.
Japhet De Oliveira: 42, all right. So thinking about your cell phone, I'm hoping you have a photo on this, on your cell phone. Could you tell us a story, the background of why that particular photo on your cell phone?
David Butler: Ah, yes, I do. It's a picture of my entire family when we lived on the Oregon Coast and we all have our wetsuits on and we're just getting ready to dive into the ocean and go boogie boarding.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh, nice.
David Butler: And so I've got, my kids were a little younger then, but my wife, it was hard to get her into a wetsuit, because she always gets cold, but it kept her very warm. So I just love the photo because we're all there. We're happy. We're on the Oregon Coast and we're getting ready to dive into 50 degree water.
Japhet De Oliveira: Water. Yeah. The wet suits make the difference. Absolutely. That's great. That's beautiful. All right. Where next after 35?
David Butler: How about 27?
Japhet De Oliveira: All right, 27. Bring us into your kitchen for a special meal. What would you be making?
David Butler: I'm a breakfast person so, if you came to my house, I would get up and I would make you some of the best tofu, it's seasoned marinated tofu. And then there's some egg replacer that really almost taste as good as egg.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh yeah.
David Butler: And then I'd love potatoes, any style, any way. So it would either be hash browns. It could be scalloped. It could be any type of hash browns. So you'd get your potatoes, you would get your egg replacer like egg, and you would get your protein with the tofu. A lot of people, "Don't give me tofu," but you would love the tofu.
Japhet De Oliveira: All right. So I got a question. This is 27A, which is new and it's about tofu. So, do you drain your tofu? Do you leave it overnight? Do you have one of those presses or do you just take tofu straight out?
David Butler: No, we have a press. We press it to get it dry and then we marinate it the night before and it's amazing.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. That's the journey? Well, I'm impressed. All right. Good. Where next after 27A.
David Butler: How about 40?
Japhet De Oliveira: 40. All right. David, if you wouldn't mind, tell us about a time you failed.
David Butler: Yeah, I was in Brownsville, Texas and we were looking at bringing in a residency program from the State and we really wanted it. My board really wanted it, because it was between Brownsville or McAllen and some developers there were willing to donate land to the University of Texas to come in. Without going to my boss, I met with the UT Medical Center, met with some of our board members, gave them a green light saying, "Yes, we want to do it. And we would like to get it rather than McAllen." Really didn't get that approved all the way up through the region and the division, and my hands got spanked after that. I learned a good lesson that I better get approval before I commit me and the company to something that the company may not want.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's a good lesson on extra communication and keeping everybody informed. Love that. Thanks for sharing that. All right. That was just 40. So where next?
David Butler: How about the good 50.
Japhet De Oliveira: Good 50, all right. Share with us about who has influenced you personally, professionally.
David Butler: I'd say one of my first bosses, his name was Bob Rose, and he was an amazing man, amazing coach to me. He took me in at the age of 24 as a hospital CEO, mentored me, coached me, taught me some mistakes that I made and how to improve on those, motivated me, encouraged me. I'll never forget him.
And other than him, then I'd have to say the greatest person was my dad. My dad was my best friend. My dad was always encouraging me, I could do anything and be anything I wanted to be. But at the end, he always encouraged me to have a close relationship with the Lord. My dad passed away two years ago and it was difficult, but he was a man of God and the last thing he said to me is, "You better be there under the Tree of Life."
Japhet De Oliveira: Amen. That's beautiful. That's a beautiful moment. And with your first mentor, your boss, had you had the opportunity to go and talk to him about this and share this with him?
David Butler: I did. He's not living anymore, but quite a few years afterwards, I reached out to him and I told him how much he meant to me, what he did for me, it was invaluable. He literally helped me start my career and really became a great friend as well.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's beautiful. Good. All right. That was 50. Where next, sir?
David Butler: All right. I guess we'll have to do 58. That's a special number.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. 58 it is. What is something small that you're really passionate about?
David Butler: Something small.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.
David Butler: I don't know. I love knives. I have knife collections and probably, I've got big knives and I've got little knives and probably the best one I have is a little tiny switch blade that big.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh yeah.
David Butler: And you push the button and it shoots out like a firecracker. There'd be two things I would, if my house was burning, I'd grab my Bible and that little switch blade knife.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's cool. So, if you like knives, this is question now 58A, do you like to cut up vegetables and are you able to cut it up pretty quickly?
David Butler: Yes, I am the prep chef at the house. I don't get into anything else. I'll do breakfast. I let my wife do lunch and dinners, but you give me an onion, give me veggies, I am a prep chef. I love chopping knives and I keep all the knives sharp in the house.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh. Beautiful. That's great. All right. So after 58A, where next?
David Butler: How about 60?
Japhet De Oliveira: 60. All right. When in life have you felt most alone?
David Butler: Most in love?
Japhet De Oliveira: No, alone.
David Butler: Oh, alone.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah.
David Butler: When I was in San Diego, I wasn't married, I was single and that was probably the loneliest time of my life. I was working with Adventist Health, running the Paradise Valley Hospital. I would remember it as a very difficult time. I didn't have a relationship. I just broke up with a girlfriend, I didn't have a relationship. I didn't know many people. It's a new hospital, new community. Farthest I've ever lived away from my parents who lived in Florida. It was a lonely time for me, but there was some good out of it because it really helped me realize who I was and what I really wanted to do for the rest of my life. That I really wanted to find the right woman and have the right relationship and to have a family.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. And well done for all those things as well. It is interesting what alone makes us feel and experience. Absolutely. OK. After 60, where next?
David Butler: How about 23?
Japhet De Oliveira: 23. All right. OK. Tell us about the most outdated piece of technology that you still use on a regular basis and just can't let go.
David Butler: I still have a VHS.
Japhet De Oliveira: No.
David Butler: A video machine that we still have some VHS's. As I was talking to my wife the other day, maybe we need to just convert those into a jump drive or a CD because the technology's getting really old.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yes, you should. Now, if you said beta max, I'd be like, "What?" VHS, all right. Yes. I pray for you. That's great. All right. Where next?
David Butler: How about 60?
Japhet De Oliveira: 60. Oh, actually we did 60, so...
David Butler: All right. We'll do 61.
Japhet De Oliveira: 61. All right. Tell us about a time in your life that required incredible courage.
David Butler: I would say the month before my dad died. We knew he was going to die, or we had a pretty good idea. He kept having GI bleeds. I took two weeks off, brought my whole family there and we spent that time with dad. I brought him to the doctor's offices. It took a lot of courage, look my dad in the eye knowing that I knew he was probably going to die. He knew he was probably going to die, but we didn't talk about it that much because we wanted to focus on the positive, focus on the now, focus on the present. But took a lot of courage to realize that I wouldn't have my father. I still, two years later, I catch myself reaching for my phone to call him. And when we went back to Florida last year, for the first time my dad wasn't there, it just felt weird, felt very different.
Japhet De Oliveira: I understand that David, I lost my father in June, last year. When I call my mom, I actually, I pull up my dad's name and dial it. It was the same number for both of them but I know what you mean. No, totally. Well, thanks for sharing that. So after 61, where next, sir?
David Butler: How about 72?
Japhet De Oliveira: 72. Tell us about what you want to do when you retire and then we really want to know why you're waiting?
David Butler: I love working, but some people would struggle retiring and not have anything to do. I think I'd fit very well. I could find something to do. I wouldn't worry about that. I'd love to travel. Obviously, there's a lot of places I haven't been that I'd like to see, some of the beauties of the country, the beauties of the world, see family, see friends. My wife is from Romania. We've never been. I've never been there so I'd love to go to Romania with my wife. My kids, obviously, they would love to come, but we'd have to see whether they qualify to go.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's fantastic. I hope that you will do a little bit more travel now or wait. All right. After 72?
David Butler: How about 80?
Japhet De Oliveira: 80. How would you like to change in the future? How would you personally like to change in the future?
David Butler: I'd probably be a little bit more well-rounded in leadership and coaching others and motivational type of speaker and also, part of our call is sharing the gospel. I love getting into ministries with men's ministries or other ministries. So, probably that.
Japhet De Oliveira: I like that. That's really good. And I agree with you, some good groups with some other people is always fantastic. All right. Where next?
David Butler: 82.
Japhet De Oliveira: 82.
David Butler: That was the year I graduated.
Japhet De Oliveira: That's good. If you could only keep three possessions, what would they be and why? And cleaning up the VHS player.
David Butler: Inanimate or animate?
Japhet De Oliveira: Your choice. That's good. I like that.
David Butler: Well, number one would be my Bible. I have marked that Bible so much, there's no way I could duplicate that anywhere. There's so many notes, so many written things in there that I would probably have a coronary if I lost it.
I've got black duct tape on it because it's was falling apart. So, that would be one. Probably, my wife and I, our wedding album, it was a special time. I married late and God just amazingly blessed me. I always used to say, "You never really know if you find the right one." And the problem was said that because I never had found the right one. After I found the right one, I changed the saying to say, "You never really know if you find the right one until you find the right one and then you know."
Japhet De Oliveira: And then you know.
David Butler: And then probably the last thing, probably would be my phone. I've got so much software on there and notes that I haven't converted anywhere else. So it'd either be that or my computer.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah, I hear you. All right. That's good. Three possessions and why? Great. All right. Where after 82?
David Butler: So let's try 87.
Japhet De Oliveira: 87. When you're under incredible stress, what helps to ground you?
David Butler: Prayer, number one. Talking with a close friend, probably number two. And another thing that helps is, if I watched something, it takes my mind off of the intensity of things that are going on. And not just watching anything, but watching a nature show or watching something with animals is just really pleasing and comforting to me.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. That's good. I like that. And I like the order as well of it. That's really nice. All right. So you have time for two more, the final two, where would you like to go with your final two?
David Butler: All right. 99.
Japhet De Oliveira: 99. All right. What is the most difficult truth you've ever told?
David Butler: When I was in second grade I cheated, I had notes between my legs under my lap.
Japhet De Oliveira: I could imagine it.
David Butler: And I did not get caught. After several months, my conscience wouldn't allow it and I had to go to my teacher and I told her that I cheated. I was hoping she would have mercy, but I ended up having to repeat second grade.
Japhet De Oliveira: Oh my.
David Butler: I learned a very valuable lesson.
Japhet De Oliveira: Wow. Well, courage for you for speaking the truth.
David Butler: Yeah.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. It's good. All right. Sir, last question. Which number?
David Butler: Last one's got to be 100.
Japhet De Oliveira: OK. All right. Well, all right. So, this is the question. Tell us about one question that you just don't want to answer.
David Butler: Wow. Probably the question I would not want to answer is what my lifestyle looked like between 25 and 30. The ages of 25 and 30, I would rather not share that with anybody. It was a time in my life I was struggling a little bit and did some things probably I shouldn't have, but I just don't want to go into the details and probably just change the subjects, and to change it to a more positive thing. But, we learned from our mistakes and we learn from our life stories.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yes we do. Takes a lot of courage always. And there are the right spaces and right times for everything. Thank you for taking the time. David shared so much about the stories and experiences that actually shaped you into the great leader that you are today and I really appreciate that. Hope you're having a fantastic day ahead of you as well. And at the end of the day, well today, [crosstalk 00:29:38].
David Butler: So far. I've had no complaints. And so we're working on that perfect end of the day.
Japhet De Oliveira: We can work on that, David, what is it, Banker, David Butler?
David Butler: Yeah. That's right.
Japhet De Oliveira: Yeah. No, totally, absolutely. Real honor. And I just want to encourage everybody who's listening to do the same thing like David and I just did. Just share your own stories and experiences. You learn so much, it shapes you, it shapes each other. You become a better person for it, and you are able to live all that God's called you to as well. So courage to you. Great day. Thanks again, David, for your time.
David Butler: God bless you. Thank you.
Japhet De Oliveira: Thank you.
Narrator: Thank you for joining us for The Story & Experience Podcast. We invite you to read, watch and submit your story and experience at AdventistHealth.org/Story. The Story & Experience Podcast was brought to you by Adventist Health, through the Office of Culture.