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When I was a kid there was nothing I loved more than summer vacation with my parents and traveling the open road. Having roots in Upper Peninsula Michigan meant cross country trips took us through the deserts of Nevada, over the Denver mountains and across the plains of Nebraska. We strolled through dozens of truck stops, counted hundreds of out of state license plates, and stayed at Holiday Inns and Little America. I put all my faith and trust in my parents for they must have known where they’re going. I simply enjoyed going along for the ride…sticking my head out the window like a newborn pup.

I never imagined all the stress and angst my parents must have endured during those summers – hoping their jobs would be waiting when the return, calculating each day’s gas and food allowance, planning when and how often to make the trip again.

As I celebrate my own life’s journey of peaks and valleys I honor those who have blazed the trail before me. I am in deepest gratitude to your sacrifice and bravery for charging over that next hill, across that distant plain. Today’s creation comes from taking control of the family “vehicle” careening out of control and making a beeline towards the rest area, towards safety.

This is what I was trained for.

This is my purpose today.

This is how a leader drives the ship.