He’d had the Family Scholar House business card for weeks. Ever since the ceremony honoring him as the 2010 Alumnus of the Year for his high school–and FSH staffer happened to be there, and heard how he’d hit a major bump in the road.
The manager of a very well-known and very successful local restaurant, he’d begun to make a name for himself in the community—a strong family, a good business head and a easy-to-be-with personality all combining to make things work. The first pass at college had ended with his assuming primary custody of his then preschool-aged daughter; but, still, with the restaurant gig, things were going well and he was managing.
And then he got hurt—a foot injury serious enough that he couldn’t keep up at the restaurant, a subsequent back injury leaving him no choice but to resign from his job, that little girl still at home depending on her Daddy to raise her and keep her fed and clothed and safe.
“I don’t like to ask for help,” he’ll tell you, adding, “I’d been the one helping people all my life, and now, suddenly, I was having to figure out what I was gonna do.” He could have stayed with family—but wanted independence.
“Finally,” he says, “I just had to ask myself two questions: Will I be alright if I keep on like this? Will my daughter be alright if I keep on like this?” The first question, he says, was easy—“I knew if it was just me I’d make it—somehow, I’d make it. But the second question—well, she deserves more than just scraping by. If I hadn’t asked for help, she might not be okay. And I want her to be okay.”
And so finally he picked up that FSH business card called. And, still, you can hear in his voice how very difficult it was to punch those numbers and make that call.
He and his daughter are FSH residents now. He’s a student at U of L, his sights set on their business school and a career in finance and investments, a sparkle in his eye as he talks about how much it interests him to see a company build itself from the ground up, or discover how a company has turned profits in a struggling economy. His daughter is one of the most well-known kiddos around FSH, talking a mile a minute if you let her about all sorts of things and very, very proud of her Daddy.
“People should care about each other,” he says, “too often we don’t.” He adds that he thinks our society has a self-first sort of attitude, one that gets us in trouble. “You gotta care. You gotta make a difference in this world,” he says.
He shrugs off the notion that he’s any kind of hero. “I’m just doin’ what you do when you have responsibilities. I know too many fathers don’t stick around, and people sure didn’t expect me to get custody of my daughter. But I’m just doin’ what I’m supposed to do.”
Maybe—but he’s doing it with a heart full of love for his child, and a future so unbelievably bright.