Where did you grow up?
I haven’t yet. 😊
I was born in Ponca City, OK. My family and I then moved to Tulsa, OK, Long Island, NY, New Orleans, LA, Burkburnett, TX, Vinita, OK, Niceville, FL, and Biloxi, MS. I left Biloxi for Great Lakes, IL in January of 1989 to begin my service in the Navy.
How would you describe your hometown?
I have spent most of my time in Florida. Niceville was/is very nice!! (See what they did there?). 😊 It is an amazing place. I also lived in Panama City Beach. (Panama City and Panama City Beach are two separate towns), quite a bit. Niceville is a short drive from Destin. The great thing about Niceville was that it was full of military families due to Eglin Air Force Base being nearby. It was also not “touristy” at all. Not much to say about Panama City Beach that you don’t know already, other than in those days, it was cleaner, quieter and no high-rise buildings. The sand dunes were large and sugar white. The water was clean.Who or what influenced you the most growing up?
My parents and my brother. My dad taught me the value of hard work and persistence. He used to tell me that the definition of being successful in your work was to always go above and beyond, even if the work won’t be noticed or appreciated. He would say, “Son, if a man gives you a day’s wages, you give him an honest day’s work”. My mom taught me faith, love, compassion, respect, politeness and servitude. She was a fierce prayer warrior and an amazing woman. My dad was gone for work a lot. So, I looked up to my brother, Michael. I followed his example and tried to make him proud. He is a huge reason for my military service. He was in the Air Force stationed in Korea and I wanted to be just like him, but the Navy was a better fit for me at the time.
What’s one of the greatest lessons you learned from your childhood?
The love, mercy and grace of Jesus Christ.
Where did you go to college and what did you study?
I didn’t. I’m a self-taught, self-made man.