News Column

Celebrating the most important men in our lives

June 15, 2014

By Winston Spencer Jr., The Huntsville Item, Texas

June 15--HUNTSVILLE -- Fathers' feelings are seldom seen, much less heard. Let's take a walk into the hearts of men. However, as gentlemen, ladies first.

"Honor our family name in everything you do. After everything is said and done, the good name of a family is more valuable than gold," said Letty Clark, an administrator at Huntsville'sHEARTS Veterans Museum. "My father would always say, 'Don't let me hear of a bad report. That would blemish our name.'"

Clark said her dad went further.

"Respect -- you have got to be respectful and not just in front of that person but be respectful of that person," she said. "You may disagree, but do it with respect."

Clark remembers how she saw her father work hard and "whatever (money) he made he brought it home to benefit the family. That's putting the family first."

"When I grew up, I had already learned from my father's example, what a man truly was. When it came time for me to get married, I knew what a father looked like, what a father is to a family and how no family can be complete without the father.

"I know we (women) get caught up in women's lib and being independent, and all that's great, but there is nothing like the structure and teachings from a father. A mother may make a house a home, but a father makes it a family."

Walker County Sheriff Clint McRae learned many valuable lessons from his dad. The example his dad set helps McRae deal with the stress of protecting this county's citizens.

"Discipline, structure and love are what I learned from my father," McRae said. "Growing up in a structured family environment I think helped establish me and taught me to truly understand family values.

"No matter what you want to become in life, you have got to be disciplined to achieve it," the sheriff added.

McRae feels that being disciplined as a young person also helped to keep his head on straight while moving him in the right direction.

"When I was a boy and I made a mistake, I was disciplined for that and I learned from it and moved on," he said. "But it was discipline with love and sometimes that love can be tough, but tough love is very important at times.

"Even in those times of discipline when he said, 'This is going to hurt me more than it hurts you.' I still understood that he was disciplining me out of love for me, only because he loved me and wanted the very best for me."

Former Texas A&M Cadet and recent graduate Keltin Jordan, who last March organized that school's "Culture Transfusion Celebration" highlighting 50 years of integration at the university in College Station, learned a lot from his father, too.

"Hard work, that's what I learned from my father," he said. "I saw my father work all the time and it's wonderful to appreciate and recognize the full worth of achievement brought on by the sweat of your brow.

"From my father I learned how to carry myself and the value of hard work and dedication to my craft," he said. "Being with my father I would see him work all day and come home and say let's do yard work. He would have me out there especially when I didn't want to. He gave me the discipline to handle responsibilities," Jordan added.

"Being responsible is having the ability to respond, to answer the call or give an account of yourself or actions, that's what being a family man is to me and I learned that him."

Wendell Baker, a prominent Huntsville businessman and pillar of the community, remembers his father.

"My dad imparted to me that your family must come first and it's important to have a strong work ethic, but I think establishing credibility with your word is perhaps the key cornerstone that joins family and work with service to others and the value of friendships," he said.

"It's in the good times that we must prepare ourselves for the tough times that are sure to come. It's in those tough times that a family looks to the father for guidance and stability. As men we must be ready to respond when needed."

Jeff Clark, combat veteran and coordinator for Camp Hope, a nonprofit organization assisting veterans with post traumatic stress disorder, picked up a thing or two from his dad along the way.

"Book learning is great, you need it, but people learning is better because that's who we live with people," Clark said. "I learned to take care of my things that I worked hard for, take care of the things he worked hard for, too. Also, to take pride in whatever work that you do."

Tyler McCaffety, a mortgage loan officer at First Financial Bank, proud Sam Houston State Bearkat alumnus and recent father, reflected on his father a couple of days before Father's Day.

"My father is my hero because he's my example. Without an example we make the same mistakes over and over again," McCaffety said. "In order for me to raise a woman-respecting, God-fearing man, you must have an example to go by.

"A mother gives compassion, a father encouragement. A mom gives comfort, a father leadership. Mother, sympathy when we need it. Father, a push toward the future. A large percentage of men in prison, men with no future, simply had no father to lead them."


(c)2014 The Huntsville Item (Huntsville, Texas)

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Source: Huntsville Item (TX)

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