312-578-9501 | www.shannonlawgroup.com JUNE 2017
LESSONS FROM MOM AND DAD
Gifts of Faith and Resilience
In honor of Mother’s Day and Father’s Day, I’d like to share with you a small piece of the remarkable story of my mom and dad. Tom Shannon and JoAnne Conyard were married 68 years ago in Portland, Oregon. Mom was a 19-year-old college freshman. Dad was a World War II Pacific veteran who had recently graduated from college on the GI Bill. The plan was simple: Tom and JoAnne wanted to have a large family. Tom would work as a traveling salesperson and JoAnne would take care of the family. The young couple moved to Yakima, a town in central Washington. They found a good parish with a school, bought a modest home, and started raising kids. I was child number nine. In my opinion, the most important characteristics of a trial lawyer are faith and resilience. A trial lawyer must have faith in their clients and their team, but most of all, they must have a crazy amount of faith in their own ability to serve their clients who cannot represent themselves. If I have but a small percentage of the faith and resilience of my parents, I am truly blessed. You see, my parents didn’t spend a lot of time talking with us about faith and resilience. They showed us faith and resilience day after day and year after year. To put it simply, my parents needed faith and resilience in a big way to survive. When my dad injured his back, the traveling salesperson company fired him. A couple of guys from the East Coast traveled to our home and took the company car. With a house full of kids and Dad being injured, my parents leaned on faith. My dad took a number of odd jobs before being hired as a social worker for the state. Ten people living on a social worker’s salary is certainly walking the walk. But the walk went further. When I was six years old, my mom was working for Catholic charities and came across my future brother, Terry, living in an abusive home. Terry was a little 3-year-old boy, deaf and nearly
blind and, as the story goes, being physically holed up in a closet. Terry was a victim of the rubella epidemic in the 1960s. When mom saw that helpless, little, abused boy, one thought went through her head: “God put me here right now to take care of this little boy. The love of our big family will heal him, and he will flourish. If we can feed 10, we can feed 11.”
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