This story isn’t really much about me, but my dad. His name is Kevin and he’s 63 years old. Born in Maryland and raised by his mother and hard-nosed father who was an E-8 in the Army who were both alcoholics, go back to the 1950s and you can kind of imagine the lifestyle and upbringing. My mom and dad got hitched and had four kids, I’m the oldest of the four and the only boy. In 1989 I was five years old and coming up on my sixth birthday in November. It’s the only birthday I’ll never forget. In October, my old man had been drinking and driving a company truck, it was winter in Virginia. He lost control of it and full on slammed into a tree. It took firefighters and EMT’s a few hours to cut him out of the truck with the Jaws of Life. He was flown to University of Virginia’s trauma care unit and was there for a couple weeks. His injuries were several broken ribs, both collar bones broken, two vertebrae broken in his neck and several skull fractures. Of course being young the severity of it was sugar coated and all I knew was my dad got hurt. Finally my mom took my sister and I (the only one at the time) to see him. To this day I remember walking in holding my cousins hand and thinking, “this isn’t my dad” as I saw him lying there in a upper body vest and metal halo attached to his forehead; he kinda smiled and said “hey Gonzo.” By the grace of God he survived. He was actually released from the hospital just a couple days before my birthday and man was I stoked to have him home. I would find out as I got older, it took 600mg of Thorazine to sedate him so that’d actually sleep for a few days. The doctors said he’d never walk again. Obviously that didn’t sit well with him, and he actually made a full recovery and was released in late February. In March of 1990 my mom reveals that she’s prego with kid number three and they are also on the hunt for a new house. My dad not being one to slow down goes on the hunt and finds a 10 acre plot of land. Long story short, the people he hired to help him excavate, cut down trees and help build the house ended up screwing him over and he ended up doing 90% of the work himself. Everything from cutting down tree lines, equipment rental, building the frame work of the house, roofing, all of it. It was finished and we moved in around September 1990 and then later in November my sister Kerry was born. So from October 1989 my dad was practically on his death bed, and a year later fully recovers and builds a house. I only ever asked him once, what made him not give up and his response was this, “I want to be able to pick up and hold my kids again.” He would later tell me, that there were three moments that stick out above the rest. The first was the metal halo holding his skull together, the bolts had come loose one day and he had get the doc to tighten them. But they just happened to be 2-3 inches long, long enough to break through the skulls outer layer so they wouldn’t get pushed out. They did it raw, nothing to numb it or pain meds. They basically did the same thing Navy docs do, “take motrin and hydrate.” Secondly was learning to walk again. He said you never appreciate the value of anything until you loose it completely. He got that back. The third was the day he got to take all the hardware off and take a hot shower standing up. To this day there is still no hardware holding him together. My parents divorced when I was 13 and a couple years after it, I attempted suicide by setting myself on fire. I only suffered 2nd degree burns and recovered with no scars or skin damage. I just remember looking at my dad after being released and a few talks later thinking, that if he can literally be broken and rebuilt like he was and still build a house all within a year…. I have absolutely no reason to ever want to quit. I enlisted in the Navy at 18 in 2003 and got out July 2014. Shortly after that, I hit the bottom of the barrel feeling suicidal once again. The thought of my dad and my nephew kept me from doing the unthinkable. I can’t give up. Shortly after that I moved to Texas and in February 2015 I gave my life to Christ. Since then my life has taken an incredible transformation in all aspects and have never been more at peace or happier, all by the absolute grace and love of God. My only regret is not coming to Him sooner. Now if I could only find a girlfriend hahahaha.
Thank you Marcus, Rut and Wizard for doing what you do. God bless you for your service and reminding listeners every episode that quitting is never an option.
Much love and respect brothers,