“When my dad was 16 years old, he met my mom, two years older than him, and was instantly smitten. At 19 he married his sweetheart and immediately began providing for her and her three children ages 6, 4, and 1. My mom had been abused and had run away and gotten pregnant at 15. Married and divorced twice, with three kids, she was a pariah; but that didn’t stop my dad. If he makes a judgment about a person, it’s based on what is in their heart, not just an outward appearance.
His parents and siblings tried to stop him, my grandfather going so far as to drag my dad to midway Island to do a month’s long plumbing job just to get him away from ‘that woman and her trashy kids.’ Grandpa didn’t know that my dad was saving every penny he made out there so they could elope when he came home.
Fast forward 7 years: My mom’s sister gets pregnant by some random hookup. She asks if my mom and dad would adopt the baby and my dad doesn’t hesitate. ‘Of course we will, but if he comes to our family he is our son in every way forever.’ That’s when I entered the world and my dad was the first to hold me. We have been inseparable ever since.
He has taught me to hunt, fish, shoot, build things – including houses, since he spent 35 years as a general contractor – and fix cars, but he’s taught me so much more than just skills. He taught me how to think, how to stay calm, how to have compassion, and how to love God.
My dad is in no way wealthy. He has never been ‘well off’ but that is largely because he always gives what he has to help others. I can’t count how many family members have ‘crashed on the couch’ or how often I’ve seen my dad give money to someone in need. He has consistently sacrificed his own wants and needs for the good of others around him.
I’m now a husband and father of three. A few months back, we were all at a Mexican restaurant waiting for a table, and there was an obviously homeless man in the lobby behaving erratically. I was standing between my family and the gentleman, just in case, and while I was busy worrying, my dad took action and helped a hostess arrange a table for the man. He knew that compassion often calms a troubled mind, so he bought him dinner. The man calmly ate and smiled at us as we walked past to our table.
This to me is what a dad is. It is a man who consistently gives his time, his knowledge, and his love to better the world around him.
That is who my dad is.”
– Eric Westover
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