Memorial Day: Remembering One of My Heros


I usually use this medium to talk about marketing, social media, credit unions, my thoughts and trying to be what I consider humorous.  This post won’t really talk about many of those issues.  What it will talk about is one of the most important and motivating factors in my life that made me understand from an early age the importance of giving 100% all of the time.  Don’t get me wrong, I don’t think I am very special in most regards, but I do know that no matter what I do in my lifetime, I will not settle for mediocre results.  I will do everything (ethically) within my power to make a difference, to create positive change, to help create opportunities for people to be a part of something bigger than themselves.

Let’s be honest, though.  No matter what any of us do, in our respective professional careers of choice will never compare to what so many brave men and women have done to even allow us an opportunity to pursue our goals and dreams.

So how did I come to the understand that anything less than a 100% commitment to whatever I am doing is absolutely unacceptable?  There are two people I have to thank for that: My father and my grandfather.  Naturally, one can assume that everything my father has and continues to teach me is the direct result of the morals and life lessons that his father shared with him.

I don’t really know why, but this year I find myself thinking a lot about my grandfather Dale “Butch” Roth.  Grandpa Roth passed away when I was still in high school and there is not a day that goes by where I don’t think about him.  I especially remember how happy all of his grandchildren were whenever we had the chance to be with him.  He truly was a “spectacular” man.

Grandpa Roth enlisted in the US Navy while in high school and left his classmates prior to graduating to serve our country.  Little know fact, Grandpa Roth was named Most Handsome Sailor while serving.  Maybe that’s where I get my good looks?  Anyhow, he left all that he knew at a young age and went off to serve.  Like I said, he didn’t graduate with his fellow classmates.  If you knew my grandpa and how much he loved his school St. Mary’s Central Catholic, you would probably think that was a bigger deal for him then heading off into an uncertain future of military service.

Grandpa never really spoke about his service and much of the info I know today was learned after his death.  Grandpa Roth raised what at the time was a typical Roman Catholic family (8 kids, yea, you read that right.)  My father was the youngest.  I’m told my dad was pretty confident in himself at a young age.  He once told my uncle Ed that he was going to be a State Champ in wrestling (this was the first time he met Ed.  I believe it may have been their very first verbal exchange as well.)  The funny thing is, my dad, Jude, was like 90 lbs. soaking wet and was doing arm curls at the dinner table when all of this happened. To be a fly on the wall…

Anyhow, only one of these men will have a chance to read this, but I am sure the other one is watching as I type.  This was rather lengthy and may have went a little different route then where I thought it would go when I started, but the message remains the same: Please remember why most of us won’t be working on Monday.

Also, never settle for anything less than your best.  While many of us will never sacrifice like so many have, what we can do is make sure we take full advantage of all the opportunities we have because others made and continue to make the ultimate sacrifice so we even have a chance to pursue our wildest dreams.  To do anything less is unacceptable.

In closing, I’d like to say thanks to everyone who has served.  I know I never could.  I wouldn’t make it past the first day.  I think that is why I understand just how special those who do serve are.  They are a rare, selfless breed.  They embody all that is courageous and noble.  They are the true heroes who will never hoist a trophy or say, “I’m going to Disney World.” Nope.  Instead, they do the very opposite.  They push their body’s and mind’s to the very brink and then they go off and do things that nobody else wants to do.

Thank you is not enough, but it is all we have.

*Note* The picture above is of my Grandpa Roth and Cousin Zac.  Grandpa finally received his diploma at Zac’s graduation.  I was there and I will never forget how proud he was.

Love ya gramps.