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THE STORY BEHIND WHY I DO WHAT I DO
It was the summer of 1981. I was going into my junior year of high school when one event changed the course of my life forever. I grew up in Edgemere, Maryland, just outside of Baltimore. Edgemere was a relatively quiet town, a suburb with rows of homes and plenty of yards for the neighborhood kids to run around in. It was a slice of Americana. We had a pretty typical family. Dad worked, andMom stayed at home before getting a part-time job—probably to save her sanity while raising three kids. My older brother and sister were getting ready to head off to college at the time. My dad had been in the military, so we traveled a lot growing up. He met my momwhile stationed in Germany. But by 1981, things had settled down. Dad had already retired from the military after 20 years
pumped to see it. Two hours later, we got back home, excited to tell Dad all about the movie we had just watched. But as we pulled up to the house, we noticed all the lights were off. It was getting dark out, so we found that to be very odd. We got out of the car and looked for Dad, running through the house. He
was nowhere to be found inside, so we looked out back. There, we found him collapsed in the yard, where he had passed out while mowing. The neighbors heard the commotion and ran out to see what had happened. One neighbor gave my dad CPR and performed
and left the service withmany job offers on the table. Since he joined the military right out of high school, Dad hadn’t pursued higher education beyond some time spent at a community college. My momwas very much the same way. She attended a community college, but that was the extent of her higher education. Despite not having the right opportunity to finish their schooling, they instilled the importance of education in their children. One Friday afternoon that summer, our family had plans to go to dinner and a movie. It was going to be all five of us,
chest compressions until the paramedics arrived. When the paramedics showed up, they worked on him for the next hour, trying their hardest to revive him. But there was nothing they could do, he suffered a major heart attack and passed away that night. In the following days, weeks, and months, I learned my parents didn’t have a plan for the future. My dad had been the breadwinner in the family. While my mom had a part-time job as a travel agent, it only supplemented their income.
but Dad read in the paper that it was going to rain all weekend. He took a look at the lawn and decided he wanted to mow it before the rain rolled in. My brother and I weren’t ones to argue with Dad. If he didn’t mow today, one of us would have to do it later. So the four of us headed to what was my favorite restaurant at the time, an all-you-can eat seafood place with every fried food you could want, including some incredible hush puppies. After dinner, it was time to see “Raiders of the Lost Ark.”The movie had just come out, and we were
No one told them to look into life insurance or to put money away for retirement. They had investments and no foundation for the years ahead. This made the next 10 years extremely hard for my mom. And the truth is our family is far from alone. Every day, someone’s family member passes away with no financial plan in place, and it can be devastating. Continued on Page 3 ...
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