The story of a committed husband and father who consistently and passionately demonstrates his love and devotion to his wife and kids.
When I became a parent, that was when I realized just how wonderful my dad is. He was always just a great provider.
When he wasn't working, he was always there for us. He always made sure that we were happy, and he made us happy.
He was just a wonderful influence on people.
He just led by example.
My dad said, when I married Bill, he said, "You'll never go without. He will provide for you."
About a year after she had me, she started having blackouts and would pass out and whatnot. And she was diagnosed with MS.
They had indicated that, obviously, there's no cure for multiple sclerosis. The divorce rate is fairly high, and it's very stressful on a marriage. And my mom was concerned about my dad and where she would be a few years down the road and basically gave him an ultimatum and said, "If you're going to walk, there's the door, because I'm not going to go down this path with someone who's not going to stay with me." And it didn't take my dad long to make that decision. He turned to her and said, "I made this commitment to you, and it's for eternity."
He never treated her like a burden, never treated her like she couldn't do anything or excel--never treated her like she was a problem.
After I was born, my parents were told not have any more children. They had a child after me that was miscarried, and then shortly after had a set of twins. After my mom had the twins, she was told for sure not to have any more.
My dad was pretty disappointed. He had always known he'd have a son and always wanted a son.
And my dad said a specific prayer that he would like a son and he didn't care what kind of condition he was in.
Down's syndrome was fairly new at the time. Kids were, for the most part, institutionalized.
The doctors told him to institutionalize him. "He's never going to do anything."
And we looked at each other, back to the doctor, and we both said, "He's coming home with us. He's not going in any hospital."
My dad was so anxious to take his son fishing. My dad's just this avid fisherman, and he packed up all the fishing gear and went out into the front driveway and laid down a blanket and had him and his son just lying out there, waiting for the morning to come so that they could go fishing for their first fishing trip.
I'm the only son I have for my dad because my dad said a prayer. I don't care if he wants me like I am, handicapped or not handicapped--"Take him down here." And he did.
There was always such love between him and my mom and him and us. He just always treasured his family.
He always provided for us. I never felt like we went without anything. We had tricycles made out of parts. He would find the tricycle frame, and we might have a huge wheel that went to another tricycle that he found. It might take a couple weeks for him to piece it together and to find all the appropriate parts, but we never went without anything.
I can remember having neighbors come and place orders, and family members, even, would place orders for items out of the garbage. I think being a garbageman--as lowly as that profession may seem to ordinary people--he took that, and it was his source of interacting with others, of serving others at the same time and still being able to provide for his family.
Very down-to-earth. He never tried to cover up that he was a garbageman or that he did this or did that.
I'm sifting the dirt I just got out of the vacuums today. And you can see how dirty this is. I mean, every day I clean it up, get all of the junk out of it. But that's what I go for; that's my treasures.
Fatherhood is something that's very special. I think about it all the time, about the responsibility of being a father to my children. They look up to me. Sometimes it really surprises me that they think so much of me. But it's an honor to be a father. It's a special opportunity that our Heavenly Father has given to you--the responsibility over these spirits that He has sent down into your home, to watch over them, to nurture them, to give them blessings. Blessings are very important things that I think families need to have. I think a lot of families don't realize the importance of a father's blessing.
But I am very thankful that I am a father, that I have the opportunity of providing for my family.
The money that I find, people throw it away every single day. And this coinage I clean up, and that's what I use to take my family and my grandkids to Southern California to the amusement parks every single year for 34 years.
It's funny because my dad's always been given the easy road out. My mom's ultimatum: "There's the door; take it." Here's this son who's handicapped, who may not walk, who may not speak, who may not even be able to self-feed. "There's the door; take it. Have him institutionalized." He has a responsibility, and he faces up to it. He does it. The great thing about him--he never complains; he just does it. He knows it's his responsibility; it's his duty. And he's amazing, and there's no other word to describe my dad. Absolutely amazing.