I was born in a small town in Virginia called South Boston. Ever heard of it? It’s ok, most haven’t. My father was on an unaccompanied tour in Okinawa, Japan so my mom was staying with family while he was away. I lived in San Diego, California for a few years when I was very young before, we moved back to Virginia and lived in Quantico.
I lived there until my father was discharged from the Marine Corps and we moved to their hometown…you guessed it, South Boston Virginia.
Small town life has its advantages and disadvantages like everywhere else. I grew up playing every sport but of course football was my favorite. Growing up on military bases and playing sports taught me so much about people, friendships, kindness, determination, having fun…etc. I believe sports played a crucial role on my views today and how I treat other people. It has always been important to me to understand other people…to see things on their level, even as a kid. As I type this, I’m not sure if that’s something my parents instilled in me, something I was born with or just something I developed. Seeing things through others eyes is an easy way to stay humble and show empathy IMHO.
Ok back to South Boston, I lived there from the 3rd grade until I graduated high school. I meet
my very best friend Corey there in middle school and to this day he is still my brother and what most people don’t know a member of the HOGFARMERs. I’ll let him introduce himself in his own way though. I joined the Navy shortly after graduating because quite honestly, I was not ready for college, I lacked the discipline and desire for more schooling. Seeing the world sounded much cooler to me.
I spent 22 years in the Navy and reached the grade of Senior Chief Petty Officer (E8). I always thought the Navy would be my defining moment but I just see it as something I did and not necessarily who I was or am. Don’t get in twisted, I’m damn proud to have served but I feel I’m so much more than just a veteran or just a senior chief. I am so thankful for the many blessings the military has provided for me. I even met my wife in the military.
I have been all over the world, from the UK, France, Portugal, Spain, Greece, Turkey, Bahrain, UAE, Oman, Qatar, South Korea, Philippines, Malaysia, and Australia to name a few. I’ve traveled through most states and I lived in Japan for 3 years. I’ve seen so many different cultures around the world that really helped shape who I am today.
My last tour in the Navy I decided to try my hands as a Drug and Alcohol Counselor. I honestly picked it because I was tired of deploying and knew I wouldn’t have to travel anywhere with that job. Unbeknownst to me, this would become the most life altering experience in my life. If you ever need to be humbled, if you ever need to learn compassion, be a counselor because its an eye-opening experience.
The things that impact us from our childhoods into our adult lives was really mind blowing for me. Though I always attempted to understand everyone’s perspectives, hearing the differences in the often heartbreaking details between my childhood and other’s childhood increased my desire to be kind, to be understanding, to care for others.
Almost forgot…. just before my tour in Japan I found out my mother had cancer. It’s a helpless feeling being 7,000 miles from home while your mom battles cancer. Cancer sucks or F*** cancer was something I heard often and maybe something I said but I never truly understood that until my mom was diagnosed. The impact cancer and the treatments need to fight cancer are devastating on a person’s body. It’s devastating on a family from a financially, emotionally, physically and mentally point of view. It’s really hard to truly convey to those who have not experienced it.
Shortly after her diagnosis, I started
doing 5Ks or cancer walks to raise money for different charities. Also, during that same time period, I began to follow the story of a local girl who was battling cancer. Her mother would post updates and eventually created a Facebook page so everyone could track her progress. This young lady was and still is truly inspiring. She continued to excel at everything in life no matter how many treatments she went through or how many times she relapsed, she just kept pushing forward and reaching her goals.
This brings me to today, I always felt everything happens for a reason. I met the HOGFARMERs (Chris, Jeff and KJ) through social media. I loved what they were doing and honestly wondered are these guys really this positive and caring? I started donating to their cause and getting others involved spreading the word to what they were doing. I learned Jeff lived just a few minutes away and had the opportunity to watch a game at his house because COVID prevented fans at FedEx. Chris and KJ came down along with a couple other people and we watched the game. It was fun! We clicked; they were easy guys to get along with as I could tell who you see on social media is who they are for real. Not too long after that the opportunity was presented to join them and as everyone knows, I took it. These dudes have quickly became family to me as our vision, desire and compassion to help others (especially kids) is the same. I put them in touch with my brother from another mother Corey who has done amazing work behind the scenes. We all chat every single day and we are always working on more ways to help so we can positively impact more lives. It sounds cliché but it’s really a beautiful partnership.
So lastly what’s a HOGFARMER to me…. A HOGFARMER is someone who consistently places others above himself (or herself). A HOGFARMER is compassionate and driven to help. A HOGFARMER loves the Washington Football Team. A HOGFARMER loves children. A HOGFARMER can empathize. A HOGFARMER shows emotions. A HOGFARMER hates cancer. A HOGFARMER wants to do the right thing. A HOGFARMER inspires. A HOGFARMER cares. A HOGFARMER loves.
Everyone can be a HOG
But a HOGFARMER cultivates those things in others….
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