Kids, especially boys, need good fathers or father-figures who inspire through love, coaching and example. My dad (right) and my father-in-law (left) were two such men. My dad grew up in a small town on the Minnesota prairie. My father-in-law grew up in New Orleans. Both came of age in the hardships of the Great Depression, worked their way through college, enlisted early to fight in WW2 (one in the Navy, one in the Army), came home and lived full lives of selfless service to their families, their companies, their communities, national organizations and charities. Both were devoted to and highly respectful of the smart women they were lucky to marry.
I’ve taken challenging inspiration from these two men and the lives they led. Each one charged me with short advice that spoke volumes. Before I left home for college, my dad sat me down for “the speech”. I had heard something about this speech from three older siblings, so I steeled myself for a sermon. We had a little casual banter about the excitement of the next stage of life, and then my dad said, “Stay true to your values, Paul.” That was it — no sermon, but key words to live up to. A few years later, my father-in-law lay in the hospital in Houston, TX. We were there for a visit and I didn’t want to believe it was the last time I’d see him, but it was. I said good-bye like we’d be back together. He then said good-bye like it was the last time. It was also short. “Be a good man, Paul.”
Below is a son's inspiring story that describes his father saying a simple sentence of incredible weight. It’s a sentence we all should remember in our troubled world today, as we strive to join together in solidarity and live up to the creed of our country’s Founding.
During the brutal Battle of the Bulge in December 1944, the Germans captured over 20,000 GIs. One of those was Master Sgt. Roddie Edmonds of Tennessee. Under the most grueling circumstances, this young man’s steely American resolve saved two hundred of his countrymen with nothing more than his rock solid commitment to humanity. Take some time to watch his incredible story, as told by his son. You will not forget it, nor can you fail to be inspired by this example of strong character.
Happy Father’s Day!
Paul Grangaard, Chairman & CEO