Monday, June 22, 2009

My Father

As all of you know, yesterday was Father's Day, a time to celebrate our dad's and the love and care they have given us over the years. I felt like this year was especially important in our family because of the struggles my dad has been facing over the last 3 weeks.

My dad has been a fireman for 33 years, and a fire chief for the last 15 years. He spent the first 32 of those years with the Sapulpa Fire Department, but began his journey with Broken Arrow last July when he was hired as their Chief. While it is a much different department than Sapulpa and we were all kind of sad to see him leave, he was so excited to begin a new challenge. Like in any new job, he had his struggles finding his place in this new department, but- like we knew he would- he fell in love with the job and formed strong bonds with his firemen.

There were a couple of downfalls to this new job, though. For one, it took more of his time so it seemed like we weren't seeing him as much. And his office is in City Hall, which he doesn't like because first and foremost, he's a fireman, and he wants to be in a fire station. But those are things he could learn to live with. The kicker was his relationship with the City Manager. Things were not always great between them, they had very different leadership styles and it caused some tension. But it was something my dad assumed they could work through.

Then, May 29th, the day after my dad's birthday, he received notice that he was being put on administrative leave for poor job performance. His employment status would be determined in a hearing to be held the next Wednesday. WHAT? If you have ever met my father, you would understand what an absurd accusation this is. My dad is genuinly one of the best people that I know. Well, to make a long story short, my dad's hearing has not happened yet, he is still on administrative leave and he is scheduled to meet with the City Council and others this Wednesday to defend his actions and determine his employment status. Needless to say, it has been a very trying time for our family, especially my dad.

But there has been some positives in this situation, things that I am so grateful for. The outpouring of support for my dad has been amazing. From the minute the announcement was made, and still today, people are constantly calling him to offer support. Even though he has only been in BA not quite a year, almost the whole city is routing for him. There is a pizza place that has posted flyers on every pizza box they sale that say "We Want Our Chief Back." Even the mayor calls him to say he hopes it all works out and he stays. It has been truly amazing, and made a huge difference in getting my dad through this.

So, on this Father's Day, I was reminded of how great my dad really is. He is a Christian and he raised my family in church and set the example for us. He is so generous and does anything he can to help those in need. He has an awesome sense of humor and never takes himself to seriously. He is so strong and level headed, and he always thinks things through. He loves his family and has never done anything to make any of us question that. He is a hard worker and has set a great example on finishing what you start. More than anything, he loves us.

So here's to my dad, I wouldn't be anything without you.