Don Turner June 2019


JUNE 2019


When I was in seventh grade, my parents and I moved in with my grandparents after a house fire left us homeless and in need of support. Despite losing everything to the fire, some of my favorite childhood memories happened during this time because I was able to spend every day with my hero. A true American cowboy, my grandfather spoiled me every chance he could. I was the only child of his youngest son, so you can imagine the kind of treatment I received! While living with my grandparents, I remember following him around wherever he went. On more than one occasion, he was probably annoyed with a preteen shadowing him around the cattle farm all day, but I couldn’t wait to wake up and see what Grandpa was doing. Our adventures often included rabbit hunting, caring for the cattle and chickens, venturing off to the sale barn, and tending to his large garden. My grandfather also helped me pick out my first horse. I remember coming down the stairs that Christmas and seeing a saddle sitting on the back of the couch. Quizzically, I asked my parents what was going on. Casually, they both responded, “Oh, that goes to this thing outside.” When I opened the door, there was my first horse, the same one Grandpa helped me pick out. I ended up racing that horse at the fairgrounds and came in third for my efforts. I spent so many hot and sticky days on the fairgrounds. We’d show our hogs and cattle, then fill out the rest of our time traipsing around the carnival with endless amounts of cotton candy, shows, and rides.

long as you were willing to put in the work, and he supported his farm with hard work and dedication. Today, I strive to match his work ethic, something his own children embody every day. My dad was quieter than his father, although I suppose being the youngest of 11 children will do that to you! Dad was in the trucking business with his brother, and there were days when he would be on the road and away from the family. But sometimes I would join him on his trips up to Chicago, and I can still remember the lap of luxury I thought the road encompassed. Where else can you get hamburger steak for breakfast, lunch, and dinner? I thought I had hit the big time. My dad was a kind, dedicated man. I can remember him attending and cheering me on at all the football games and karate matches he could. Together, we were a close-knit family, and we remained close with Dad’s parents and siblings as well.

Grandpa will always be my hero. It’s because of him that I had a cowboy upbringing. Grandpa believed anything was possible as

Looking back, I was blessed to grow up in my dedicated ranching family. Whether it was cattle or trucks, my grandfather and father

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taught me the value of working hard for what you want. I’ll forever be grateful for those lessons and the memories they conjure up.

–Don Turner

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