Sometimes a picture tells it all.


From left to right: Henry Plager, Warren Buffett, and Charlie Plager.

About fifteen years ago I got a call from my friend Al Ueltschi, the founder of Flight Safety International and board chairman of ORBIS International. I had worked for and with Al in the nonprofit he headed for more than twenty-five years. He was a gruff but kind, effective, self-made man who knew what he wanted and was able to accomplish many good things.

When he phoned, I was in Northern Michigan on vacation. He asked if I would meet him at the Oshkosh Air Show in Wisconsin. I thought he must have had a good reason to invite me, and Al was not the kind of fellow you said no to. Two grandchildren were with us at the time. I asked Al if I could bring them. He said yes and even sounded enthusiastic.

There was a problem though—Lake Michigan. I was on the northern end of the eastern shore of this Big Lake and Oshkosh, Wisconsin, was near the southern end on the western shore. Our choice was to drive north and then west through the Upper Peninsula before heading south in Wisconsin or simply driving south through Michigan and then heading north. The first choice entailed going over the Mackinac Bridge and the second option entailed driving through Chicagoland. Both meant about 600 miles of driving.

The choice for me was a no brainer. We went north.

This was a big adventure for the boys but there proved to be something even more interesting at the other end. It turned out the reason Al wanted me there was to meet Warren Buffett, his friend who was a supporter and would be interested in the telemedicine project that Al and I had been working on. Al said that Mr. Buffett would be flying in the next day from Omaha and would arrive around noon.

The next day, we had a very productive meeting with Mr. Buffett. He was interested in the project and wished us well. After that he asked my grandsons if they would like to see his plane. Their answer, of course, was yes. Henry was impressed to see that Mr. Buffett had four newspapers, “All the same day” and Charlie liked the marble sink.

Before he left, Mr. Buffett visited the ORBIS airplane and had a good time joshing with the boys. He even posed with them, mugging a bit. In one picture, with a conspiratorial look on his face, Mr. Buffett is whispering in Charlie’s ear.

The next time I met with my banker, I showed him the photo and told him my grandson Charlie was very well connected and I would be getting most of my future investment advice from him.


By Savvy Senior

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4 thoughts on “Charlie and Warren

  1. Another option was to take the lake ferry from Ludington Michigan to Manitowoc, Wis (my home town)

    I am about3months younger than the Oracleof Omaha

  2. Gene, what a great story and memorable event for your grandsons and probably you, too. At first glance, I thought the handsome gentleman was you!! You weren’t that old at that event though.

  3. I liked the “rest of your story” when you showed the picture to your banker. I also liked how you were able to relate how your grandsons responded to the same experience and what impressed them. We need to get others to tell similar stories. I enjoyed your story.

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