44 Cray Street, Cumberland, RI 02864
My Dad’s Legacy
No Obstacle Big Enough
for. It speaks to the legacy of my dad that people were so ready and willing to come together in a time of need. My dad’s story also has a happy ending. After surgery, he spent several months in recovery before returning to the club on a part-time basis. Overcoming this challenging time brought us closer together. I had the opportunity to see him every day, and we began to confide in one another. We had some really good heart-to-heart conversations in the following 20 years. Today, I have my dad’s faith in me to thank for the club and my career. Our team remains as strong as they were back in his day. When you’re with people 40 hours a week, you build relationships and grow stronger together. Although I’d never ask to go through it again, I learned some of the most important lessons of my life in those months after my dad got sick. When life puts obstacles in your path, you find a way through it and keep moving forward.
Fortunately, I had a very capable team at the club to support me. In addition to the hardworking, generous staff that already worked there, my brother Brian came on board. Friends and people around us supported me, and they let me bounce ideas back and forth with them. They helped me make it through the transition.
When I was 25, my entire life changed over the course of one day. My father came to me in August of that year, about four weeks before the season started. He told me he had a very serious case of esophageal cancer. The success rate was 10–15 percent. He wasn’t sure when he would be back to running the club — or whether he would be back at all. Up until that point, my involvement with the business was minimal. My father basically told me that day, “It’s your business now; you’re in charge.” Within a week, he had surgery and didn’t step back into the club until the following spring. It was overwhelming, to say the least. I was now in charge of anything and everything at the club. I took on this responsibility even as I tried to get an emotional grasp on what was happening to my dad. I went from a tiny office to taking over his larger office. It was a stressful time, and I didn’t get a lot of sleep. I’d see my family early in the morning and return late at night. During that year, I rarely had dinner with them. I’d see them Saturday afternoon, usually, when they would come to the club. Knowing they supported me was comforting, but it was difficult to not see them as often.
We had a staff of about 20 at the time, and it was a matter of everyone jumping in and just being willing to help out. We were all doing the best we could. Our busiest time of the year had just started, and there was no time to dwell on the unfortunate circumstances that had brought us together. The club made it through this tumultuous, unexpected event thanks to the strength of our staff. Everybody rallied behind me — a blessing I am beyond grateful
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