Travis G Black September 2019




Labor Day is a time to honor the working class, and, for me, I want to honor my father. Growing up, my family was poor, but as kids, we didn’t know it. My parents did everything they could to take care of us; my mom always made homemade meals, and my dad was a hard-working laborer. He worked at a factory that made steam irons. Back then, the bottom of the iron was made out of metal, and my dad’s job was to mold it. He worked with molten metal, and, as you might imagine, it was extremely hot. On an average day, the temperature of his work environment reached up to 150 degrees F, and, in the summertime, that was in addition to the 100-degree weather. To avoid the brunt of all that heat, Dad always worked the graveyard shift. He did so much to support his family. I remember waking up some mornings, and I’d look outside to see him driving home after a long shift. He’d park in the driveway, and, sometimes, he’d be so tired that he would open the door of his pickup and just sit there. “I learned at a young age that it’s better to do a job right the first time than to go back and do it again.”

The main lesson my dad instilled in me was to work hard at any job I had to do. He taught me that if I was going to do a job, it was always best to put everything I had into it to get the best results, even if it was something as simple as mowing the lawn. From the time I was old enough to push a lawn mower, it was my job to make sure the grass was cut. There were a lot of times where I’d have just finished, and dad would come out and make me recut certain areas. I learned at a young age that it’s better to do a job right the first time than to go back and do it again. I started delivering newspapers when I was a little older, but my first real job was working as a box boy and stocker at a grocery store in high school and into college. At 3 a.m., I’d go to work and arrive just as the delivery truck pulled in. A couple of my coworkers and I would unload the truck, take all the merchandise into the store, and start putting everything up on the shelves.

Once I got out of college, I became a police officer, but I never forgot what my dad taught me. In all the jobs I’ve had, my philosophy has been to do the best I can, no matter what the work is. As a police officer, I trained numerous young officers, and I remember being pretty strict. There were many times I would make them do a job over and over again until they got it right. Years later, those same officers thanked me for teaching them how to do things correctly. I was always very proud that I had that reputation. Once I retired from law enforcement due to an injury, I went to law school and became an attorney. Now, everyone in the office strives to do the very best we can for our clients to make sure they’re taken care of in whatever situation they’re faced with. –Travis Black

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