Thirty-eight years ago, a boy was born to the sweetest young lady you could ever hope to meet and a guy who climbed telephone poles for the local phone company. Whether the kid knew it or not, he was a next generation Trojan. Troy was the town his dad grew in, and the town his dad’s dad grew in; the lineage practically going all the way back to when the canals were built. He grew up in a two-story house on Walnut Street. He was practically raised on pancakes from K’s and pork tenderloin sandwiches from Ording’s.
By all accounts, he was a good kid. He had a sharp memory and a wild imagination; legend has it by age six he knew the name of darn near every street in his hometown of Troy. The highlight of his young life was meeting Mayor Doug Campbell at the Troy Public Library. Lazy summer days were spent in a field across from his house playing pick-up baseball. It may not have been a perfect childhood, but it was certainly idyllic.
The kid went to school at Kyle Elementary, Troy Junior High, and Troy High School. He wasn’t the best student, but he was okay. When it came to a favorite subject, the kid loved social studies and he soaked it up like a sponge. Perhaps it was the subject matter that he loved, or perhaps it was that he was taught by the best in the business. You know, the likes of Jack Arthur, Dennis Dyke, Fred McDougall, and Chuck Barrett.
When the kid wasn’t in school, he was working. Starting at age 10, he passed out newspapers on Clay Street and spent five and a half years growing up in front of some of the nicest people you could ever meet. At age 16, he worked at the local hardware store, where he got to help hundreds, if not thousands of people. It was here where his hard work ethic and sense of helping others was really formed. Whether it was finding that “watch-a-ma-call-it” or mixing a gallon of paint, he put in long hours and worked hard.
The kid was fortunate enough to go to the local state university and worked hard in his studies. He studied Urban Affairs, a fascinating world of how cities were operated and formed, and he took to it like a fish in water. He made the dean’s list more often than not. It was with that strong confidence in himself, a humble desire to give back to his hometown, and a never-say-die work ethic he took a huge jump at age 20. He decided he was going to run for a seat on city council.
As luck would have it, he ran against one of the most decent and honorable men you could think of. Soft spoken with a warm heart, this man was also a twenty-five year veteran of the town’s police force. Many wrote the young kid off, but he worked hard. Balancing 20 credit hours at college, working at that hardware store, and running a campaign-he poured his heart in to all of it. In between papers for college, he’d knock on doors and put up hundreds of yard signs.
The week of the election, he was fortunate enough to be endorsed by the local paper he worked for, but as the election came along, he would lose by nine percentage points; the twenty-year-old kid got just a hair over 45% of the vote.
After the election, many folks would see him at the hardware store and encourage him. Many said this was just a set back. But, there were many said he just needed to grow up a little bit. This may sound like a fascinating story, and maybe it is. But, it’s my story. And the beautiful aspect of this particular story is that it’s not over yet.
It’s hard to believe it has been almost 18 years since I made that run for public office. A lot has happened in those intervening years, including the part where I grew up. Over these years, I have been the recipient of tremendous blessings. I was able to continue my studies at Wright State and earn a Master of Public Administration degree, and I was able to build a career of serving communities here in Miami County.
I worked in our city’s Planning and Development Department, and after a short time, I was able to serve as a Township Administration in Bethel Township. I worked hard with elected officials, creating a vision to help make the community a wonderful place; even today elements of the plan I was so lucky to be a part of are coming to fruition. The lessons I learned in Bethel Township weren’t always the easiest lessons, but they were critical. I am grateful to the Bethel Township community for giving me a chance to serve them for three years.
I also spent eight years working for the City of Piqua, and I feel that I helped make some strong contributions to not only make the community a better place, but to help restore faith and confidence in a city that badly needed it. And it was in Piqua that I learned that a community is more than just what happens at City Hall. I was able to work with wonderful groups such as Mainstreet Piqua, the Piqua Area United Way and the Piqua Area Chamber of Commerce. While I never lived in Piqua, I love that community and it will always hold a special and dear place in my heart.
On a personal level, the years have allowed me to marry my amazing wife Ashley, who is as driven and caring as anyone you could ever meet and even a little crazy; to live my life with her is pure joy. Together, we have built a family of two little ones. Both of whom challenge Ashley and me to be better people but bring us so much joy.
And I have also grown up a lot in the last 18 years. I have learned to be more patient, I have learned to be more positive, and I have learned to be a better person. I have developed my own personal mission for my life, which can be summarized by the Spanish word, “mejorando”-roughly translated it means “getting better.” Each day, I try to be better a better husband, a better father, a better friend, and a better worker than I was the day before. It has been nearly 18 years since I have run for city council, but after a lot of thought, prayer, and consultation with mentors and friends, I am ready to give it another shot in 2017.
I will run as a candidate for Troy City Council. And while the election is still months away and we just got finished with an election, the planning for 2017 needs to begin now. Over the next few weeks and months I hope to share more about myself and my personal vision to make this wonderful hometown of ours an even better place.
I want to develop a campaign that looks to enhance the great assets our community has and to build up our citizens; I want to be an advocate for all the wonderful things and people in our community, and I promise you I will be a collaborative problem solver to ensure a brighter future for our entire city.
I want you to join me on this journey. If you are so inclined, please send me a message. Let me know if you can help me, from signing a petition, to be willing to have a yard sign, or if you just want to send good wishes. At the very least, tell your friends, your family, your neighbors that there is this guy you know who wants to make a difference in your hometown.
In closing, thank you for your time in reading this.
If you have any comments or questions, please do not hesitate to contact me.
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