Growing up I was a problem child, I had a strong will and was hard to control. My dad came from a pretty harsh family and had grown up poor. To be blessed with such a child that was me had to be a challenge. When I was in the sixth grade I built a darkroom in the basement of our 100 year old house without permision. I built a wall at the end of the narrow hallway that let to the outside exit. I drilled holes in the floor so that I could run speaker wire from my bedroom to the darkroom. Dad discovered it and let it be. As wild and independent as I was, he encouraged me to explore my creativity. He also worked my ass off.
His work up ’til that point caused us to move every 5 years or so. He finally said enough and refused a transfer to New Jersey, believing it would be bad for me. Swallowing his pride, we moved to Abilene, Kansas, the hometown of my mom. This decision left him under the direct supervision of my grandpa, a hard man to satisfy, to say the least. My dad busted his tail, at first taking on construction jobs and then moving on to being the business manager for the Shriners in Salina, Kansas. We (he, I just carried bucket of lathe) rehabbed an ancient house. I got to grow up in a great little town and witness what a man with drive could do. I continued to challenge him, and he continued to correct me, always in love, sometimes in pretty hot anger.
At some point in his 40’s, he decided to go back to school to further his education and become a financial planner. It was a monumental task. He got through it and excelled at his new career. The picture he painted for me was amazing and it impacted me in ways that I did not understand until recently. His work ethic and love for family is epic. I owe what I am to him. He encouraged me to challenge the norm and become more than what I believed I was. I love my dad, he is my hero.