Family Strength and Dedication
In order to understand who I am; as a man, father and pilot I have to go back to the beginning…my parents.
I’m still trying to piece both my parents past, but the one thing I do know is they met young and married when my father was in the army.
Despite the constant moves, my mother supported my father throughout his career. My mother, a humble woman, grew up in the cotton fields of Southern Missouri. She was one of two girls and had six brothers (unfortunately I didn’t get a chance to meet them all). She was a fighter; she fought through what most would consider an adverse life. She worked through many medical issues and in my opinion understood sacrifices more than anyone
My father, much like myself, had dreams of flying! He built flight time as an instructor in the army then built more aviation experience as a mechanic (working under an engineer title) for McDonnell Douglas and the Gemini Space program. In or around 1969 he was called up by Ozark Airlines and moved to Chicago to be in the first class not to fly a DC-3, but the Fairchild F27.While in Chicago, my mother gave birth to my sister, Andrea “Andi” they later moved to St. Louis, MO where mom gave birth to me, in 1980.
Airlines & flying.
During that time and somewhere in-between all the moves my dad was building his first biplane on the side- the Skybolt. The Skybolt was an experimental plane, it had an open cockpit (which I could barely see out of) it definitely was not the most comfortable. Nevertheless it’s where I really started in flying. Almost every year we would take the Skybolt to Oshkosh for the EAA Fly-in, we must have gone over twenty times, I literally lost count of how many times I’ve been there. Dad knew I could not necessarily learn to fly in an Experimental plane, much less a Skybolt, so he would periodically rent planes like: Cessnas & Aroncas to build some time, lessons, and experiences. About six years later was when I met Sean D. Tucker, and well, that’s where my destiny, my fight, began.
When I think about where most of my ethic in work and life come from, I think of my mom and her strength. Whether her body said no, mind or soul, she would set a goal, and she would push past her own limits. As I mentioned in a previous post, my mom and dad split up when I was young so she had custody of both my sister Andi and me. She was a hard worker; she provided for my sister and me by working in the cosmetic industry. Even though she was barely making 17k a year, she still managed to give us nice things with her commission. Her response would be, “well what else am I supposed to do, I have to feed my kids”. She was annually one of the top sellers for Estee Lauder, later Clinique, and won some of the highest awards. I still remember the day we got our first big “tube” TV; mom won it through her sales. We wouldn’t have been able to buy one. It even came with new “rabbit ears.”
She strongly believed in me and always pushed me, no matter what. She taught me to follow your dreams and never stop. She always understood the risks and made it well known her life would stop if anything ever happened to me, but knew how important it was to my heart, so she supported me 100%, through everything I sacrificed. Considering the circumstances, and she would never give up on anything.
Dedication from Dad
When it came to a support system, Dad had the same dedication as my mother however his vision for me was more grounded. You see, dads strength came from his family. From what I remember, he believed in the “for the greater good concept”. Dad believes in the whole as opposed to the individual. Everyone and everything that someone does should have a purpose. If he didn’t see something as important for the family as a collective whole it was hard to convince him otherwise. That’s not a bad philosophy either however, one could pass many opportunities in life too. I remember one comment he made a long time ago, “I wanted to fly airshows or compete more too, but I gave it up for my kids.” That comment to certain extent, broke my heart. Much like my father, I believe strongly in family- more than ever! The difference between he and I is that I also believe that in order to be the best version of yourself for “others” you have to pursue your dreams. That leadership should be the most inspiring to everyone. I don’t believe in giving up for one, but inspiring all and strengthening togetherness by inclusion. Meaning, I wish I had a choice because I would have rather been a part of my father’s life through his ultimate dream than never having a choice nor chance. That is one thing that keeps me going, I think of my daughter, Emelia and think if I can show her daddy wont quit his dreams, then I know she’ll always learn and know she will have a chance at hers. As I speak to you the reader, I will leave this blog with this, “never give up, follow your dreams, include everyone and there will be no exclusion, we are our own mental chaos, stay out of your own head, breathe, now get up and go for it!