One cannot truly imagine having so much enthusiasm from siblings; especially when that dim torch was being passed between you like a hot potato. 

My brother, my hero, my best friend (forever, always there), leading the way and will not, will not, allow the flame, even as it dims and flickers, to go out.

My sister and opposite twin, we got history. I could always count on your integrity, taking the same licks, side by side. There has never been a time when I have failed to appreciate the feel of your shoulder, under mine, crushed under the weight I fearlessly bear on you.

And another sister, I have to say, just when my life was crashing through the mirror and Michael had become a permanent scar (continuing to this day) to be never forgotten. Still rolling downhill toward hell, I did not know who you were, but after I steamrolled you, you stood back up and hugged me with tears in your eyes and the connection was made. Our hearts (and sadly, our heads as well, oops, sorry) melded into one and I have felt your pain as you have felt mine.

You folks have all but pushed me face down in the mud, but in a most gentle way. Your passive-aggressive method scared me, but every time I tossed a bone, you breezed through me, softly, quietly, but firmly. And I just could not allow myself to disappoint again. Halliburton was supposed to allow me to finish well, the effort and determination were there, but it just did not go that way. Still you are with me always, Michael Jack, stop biting your grand-nephew! Family, what has not been said?

Coach Sewell’s last words to me have been a challenge for so long and were the actual match-light, way in the back that my family has kept slowly burning all this time. Hey coach, Magna Cum Laude, on you, you did it! Hope you are proud!

And these are the top tier, all the rest are on a second tier, only for organization. If I ever knew you, your inspiration has pushed me. Even those that laugh and take bets on how long I would last or referring to “Tommy Boy,” as to how long it would take (lie to me, tell me I am wrong, lol). Your honesty inspired me. Honesty is a must, there has to be a place where hearts do not whisper but speak truthfully, respectfully to one on another path.

Everyone keep a warm heart for those involved in the effort to keep me focused on the prize and moving ahead, even after several emotional “wheels came off!” My instructors, from day one, words will be written to sing for and to you. Your hands were full. Thank you for your time and consideration.

And those kids, pardon, wonderful, fresh, positive, smiling faces, these young adults were at times a mite too considerate, but always very honest and fun. It must be said that the desire of acceptance and connection evolved quickly into a surprisingly dependent association. Enough cannot be said for those young people, being adopted so late in life is a reassuring concept. Without realizing a need, suddenly being carried, not as a hero, but swept along on a wave across an endless sea of light. A sincere love and appreciation for those “plugging in,” as it were, to ensure “success for every student.”

“Because I am a Calhoun graduate!”