It really is a funny thing that I exploit every chance I get; John Wayne and my son were born on the same day… the 26th of May. My son’s birthday was not in the early 1900’s like that of Wayne, but in 1968 while I was recovering from injuries received in Vietnam the prior month. I was working in the baggage facility (where we would check the baggage of all Marines heading back to the states to make sure there was no contraband included in their belongings) and the Red Cross office in the headquarters building right across the parking lot from us couldn’t find me. Finally, on the 28th of May they called me to my company office and handed me a telegram informing me of the birth of my son – “mother and son doing well.”
I’ve got to tell you that being a Marine, most of us really do like John Wayne’s straight shooting, hard charging, take no prisoners approach to life and combat. I didn’t care for some his off screen beliefs, but I sure did appreciate the integrity and courage of the characters he portrayed on the screen. Most of us probably see that screen personification as the real John Wayne. Nevertheless, thank you Mr. Wayne for the portrayal of courage and integrity you and John Ford shared with the rest of the world.
My son is a John Wayne type; that is he is a man of honesty, integrity and courage. He is fair, serious when he has to be, and full of laughter when it is appropriate. He is one of those modern day dads and husbands who are involved in the running of the home and sharing the household chores with wife and kids. In my day that was just not seen – not that I saw anyway. Dads worked hard, long hours to provide for their families. That was the understood way of a man caring for his family… he was a “provider.” I look at my son and I just don’t know how he does all he does. I am so proud of him and the way he lives his life.
He, his wife (Joy) and children (Noah & Abby) are active in their church and community and in the lives of extended family. He is all the time going … going… going to a meeting at the church, planning the IT side of worship at church, helping neighbors and friends, taking kids here, there, and everywhere, being involved in the school, recreational and social life of his kids. He knows a lot of the parents and kids at the school, on the soccer field, and other places around the community. He and his family help wherever they can. I believe they are a good examples of how to be an involved community person. He is not political, so you will not find him involved in that side of life… he will vote and live out his beliefs… being a good citizen, but you will not find him standing on some street corner or in some town hall espousing why we should vote for one candidate over another… that is just not him.
He was always a good kid growing up… going to church every Sunday and helping out wherever he could. I remember back then we were concerned about a friend of his who was known for using drugs. We were afraid that this guy would have a bad influence on Stephen… but guess what… Stephen had a positive influence on him.
Happy birthday, son. You continue every single day to make us proud that we have been blessed to be your parents. Keep the faith!!!
Mom & Dad