My Dad

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This is my Dad. He was born over 60 years ago in a little Dutch town called Geleen. He and his family moved to Canada in the 50s eager to start new lives in this young land.

Dad has three boys, and I’m right in the middle. My eldest brother, Pieter, is a dad to an 18-month-old. Gilbert is his name. My little brother Josh hopes to be a dad one day soon too.

Dad imbued all of his children with a sense of discover and wonder, either by accident or by design. I’m sure that even he is really sure. But he’s always been a tremendous support and a loving man over the years.

Dad taught us it was OK to cry at movies. He taught us to own up to our mistakes. He taught us to be ambitious, to make our mark, and to be upbeat and positive. He taught us that good things do not come to those who wait; they come to those who get off their asses and work hard.

And he did all this by showing us how. A successful man in the twilight of his career, my dad is planning to retire soon. And I can’t wait for him to enjoy the fruits of his labors.

Dad’s had a long and storied work life. He owned a few businesses with some partners, including a gas station and a hotel in Edmonton — neither of which are around anymore. He hit a rough patch when he sold those businesses and had to work as a carpenter making cabinets for the Miseracordia Hospital expansion in the west end. It was tough for him and my mom to make ends meet during that time, but they never let us kids know they were struggling. They always tried to give us everything.

Dad pursued a career in human resources after that, mostly I think because he loved working with people. And people love working with my dad. We can’t go anywhere without him bumping into an old friend or acquaintance, and Dad always takes the time to catch up.

Dad’s taught me everything I know about being a man. And it isn’t any of that lumberjack, burly-man nonsense. It’s about being a positive force in my community, helping out friends, family and even strangers. And having a passion for people.

Thanks for making me the man I am today, Dad. Happy Fathers Day!

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