On December 9, 1974, having been out of high school for a year and a half going nowhere, I walked into a recruiting office and as a result my life has never been the same. Over the course of the next forty years:
- I still made some dumb mistakes early on but meeting my wife in September 1977 helped pull me out of a terrible tailspin. I love her immensely for that and for everything after that.
- Received an Army commission as second lieutenant of Infantry.
- Completed a four-year degree in three years while working forty hours a week in a factory to pay for it and serving as a reservist on weekends as well as the summer.
- Married a beautiful woman (inside and out) who bore us a son whom I am deeply proud of every day.
- Taught two years as a high school mathematics and computer programming teacher in a parochial school where "your time was their time," piling up a number of additional duties including basketball and track coach, yearbook photographer, senior play and musical technical director, and business office computer programmer to name just a few; oh, and I drove the bus from time to time.
- Entered on active duty because teaching in a parochial school didn't pay the bills.
- Earned two graduate degrees that helped set the stage for a new and extremely rewarding challenge.
- Completed a twenty-two-year military career, no small task given the often cut-throat politics of the commissioned officer corps.
- Retired from active duty with the rank of lieutenant colonel and marched right into school administration without the slightest break in service (that's vacation to civilians).
- Researched, compiled and published a full-length local history book (and working on a second one).
- Competed in marathons as well as 50K, 50 mile, 100K and 100 mile ultra runs.
- Embarked on a new career as a public school administrator with tours of duty the past nearly-nineteen years as an elementary principal, middle school principal, combined middle and high school principal, and for the last six years as superintendent. And despite the many challenges, I look forward to every day as if it were my first.
So while I feel like I've been running a continuous sprint these last four decades, I'm thankful for the many opportunities I've been able to take advantage of and those yet to come. Mostly, I'm thankful for the support I've received not only from my adorable wife (and my best friend) and our incredible son (and his wife), but from everyone I've ever had the pleasure to serve and to serve with over all these years.
And you know what? I'm just as excited for the next forty!