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"Unknown" People Who Influenced You & Your Life

Thank you @RayInNJ for the idea.

Of course my wife has influenced my life in a big and positive way but that really should be its own list.

    1. My parents in their 40's

    They made some horrible financial decisions that I was old enough to observe and somewhat understand. Helped me in terms of what not to do.

    2. My father later in his life

    My parents split in 1980 and my dad moved to Spain where he lived the rest of his life until he died in 2015. He figured some stuff out primarily focused on living a life of service to others. He ran a non-profit school for blind golfers (seriously), he was instrumental in raising funds for what I believe was the first hospice facility in the country which was where he went for the last few weeks of his life. There was more. This was concurrent to my getting involved with Walker Fire. I guess we both have the gene.

    3. Mr. Kaplan

    I took a woodworking class from him when I was a little guy and then ran into him when he was substitute teaching when I was in 10th grade. In that 10th grade encounter he taught me the importance of a firm handshake.

    4. Chief Jon Sumner

    He was the chief at Walker Fire when I first joined back in 2003. He was a big positive influence on my life. Part of what I learned from him was the idea that respect is earned it is not bestowed. He lead by earning respect. Part of being a fire chief is that firefighters have to follow you toward the fire. This to me is a profound concept and part of why leading by example is so important to me.

    5. Mr. Backhoe

    For years when we first moved to Walker, we had an older neighbor who did backhoe work in the area. He and his wife both played a pivotal role in our lives (my wife and me). I wrote about him on my blog all the time, simply referring to him as Mr. Backhoe. He recruited me into the fire department. He also taught me things about how to be a better adult starting at an age (early 30's) where I thought I'd figured some things out already. While I had figured out a couple of things by then, I was still open to learning from him as well as Chief Sumner.

    6. Basketball coaches

    This goes back to middle school and high school. Candidly, I'm not sure what I could point to here but if you played sports, your coaches did have some measure of influence.

    7. Dr. Shuster

    I don't know if that was how his name was spelled. He was the surgeon who biopsied my tumor when I was in high school and told me I had cancer. I've told this story before here but my second question was if I was going to die. He said "you could, but I don't think you will." This became a catalyst to embrace positive thinking. I didn't know about manifesting and I don't think The Secret was a book yet, this was 1982, but I started do all of that stuff on my own because I had to.

    8. Walker Fire board president

    Bill has been the president since just before I became Chief back in 2012. He's been a terrific partner to work with.

    9. Walker Fire personnel

    A lot in the group have been with the department for many years. The way I think of it, when you are part of a volunteer organization and you stay with it for a while as does a nucleus of other volunteers, those are people you are choosing to grow old with. In the current group, I've been around the longest at 20 years but there are a lot of people who've been with the department 10-15 years and many others at five or more.

    10. One other one from my father

    The importance of being a good teammate. The context when I was a kid was sports related but it has had applications in other aspects of my life all along the way.

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