North Georgia Elder Law October 2019

Kevin’s Peace of Mind

www.kevintharpe.com (770) 503-1022

October 2019

Looking Up to My Little Brother, Jeff A Man of Character, Perseverance, and Love

In the vast majority of families, younger siblings grow up admiring their older siblings. Just as much as they learn how to walk and talk from their parents, they also learn all about life from their older siblings. It’s not often the pendulum swings the other way and the older sibling looks up to the younger one. But, through growing up and growing close to my little brother Jeff, I’ve found I look up to him and admire the man he has become more and more every day. As kids, we shared no shortage of adventures together. We ran around the yard pretending to be superheroes, though I’d usually claim the role of Batman, so Jeff would play my trusty sidekick, Robin. We always replayed famous sporting events (often in slow-motion mode), with either of us hitting the home run to win the World Series or scoring the last-second touchdown. I remember one adventure, in particular, that we had at my grandparents’ place near a lake. We loved water, but, because it was February and Mom warned us not to get into the water, we opted to play on the dock. While we were playing, Jeff got too close to the edge and fell into the water. It was not too deep there, but for a couple of kids, it may as well have been the middle of the ocean. I

jumped in and pulled Jeff out. When we arrived at the house, our clothes completely drenched, Mom’s wrath was fortunately interrupted by a neighbor calling to tell her exactly what happened. From that day forward, I like to joke about saving Jeff’s life, but, in all honesty, the path he chose for himself inspires the way I approach my life. The thing I admire about Jeff most is his open heart. When Jeff first met his wife, Gina, it didn’t take long for him to realize he had found the love of his life. It also did not take long for him to open his heart to Gina’s two boys, Colby and Carson, and before long, they took a special place in his heart and life, too. Later on, Jeff and Gina had a daughter together, Kyndal, and from then on, Jeff has been in his element as a loving husband to Gina and a devoted father to his children and dog, Ruger. Jeff’s love for helping children have happy and hopeful lives doesn’t stop when he leaves the house. For as long as I can remember, Jeff has had the dream of being a school principal, and, after years of teaching a variety of different grade levels and serving as an assistant

principal for a high school and middle school in central Georgia, Jeff earned his place as the principal for an elementary school, which is what he still does today. He is doing an exceptional job. His students call him“Mr. T,” and some of his students think his primary job as principal is making announcements and eating doughnuts. I’ve heard he even records videos of himself reading books and sends them out to the kids’ parents, so they can personally connect with him every week. Being an educator can certainly feel like a thankless job, but, no matter what, Jeff never gave up on his dreams. While he had many other talents that could have taken him anywhere, he followed his heart to help kids, and I’m so inspired by that. Proverbs 18:24 teaches, “One who has unreliable friends soon comes to ruin, but there is a friend who sticks closer than a brother.”

With Jeff, I am blessed to have both.

Love ya little brother,

-Kevin

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