Some boys are born to become fathers. Some men choose to become dads in other ways. However dads are made, you can recognize a great one a mile away.
This week, EBI staffers are celebrating all the fathers, dads, and poppies out there, and paying tribute to them in a special Father’s Day blog.
These men come from all different backgrounds and became dads in unique ways, but they share many common values.
We hope you and whoever the men are in your life enjoy reading about the inspirational dads behind some of our favorite employees.
Dawn Sheckells – Talent Acquisition Specialist
My dad’s name is Warren. He and my mom have six children. My siblings range from 73 years old to 52 years old. There was a substantial gap between the first three children and the last three children. The first three kids saw a totally different father than we did. They saw a kind and loving family man who suffered from PTSD, alcoholism, and an angry temper at a switch.
When my dad was just 17 years old, he enlisted into the Army. At 18, he was fighting in WW2, deep in the trenches of France, Italy, and Germany. He spoke only of the devastation in these countries and the livelihoods of so many lost. While he never went into detail about his war stories, emotionally he struggled. Alcohol seemed to have helped with this struggle. By the time my sister was married at age 18, my father was 41 years old. He didn’t remember the wedding at all and vowed that he would never have a single drop of alcohol again. For 27 more years, he stuck by this vow until he died just shy of his 68th birthday from coronary issues.
The second set of three children (my brother, sister, and I) saw a completely different father. My father is the hero of my life. He taught me how to face life with courage, patience, and bravery. Through his life, and ultimately even his death, my father taught me that no obstacle is too large to overcome if I put my mind to it. On the road of life there are often many ups and downs, but they are part of the journey and experiencing them makes us who we are. In the end, all that matters is doing what is right, doing what we enjoy, and sharing our life with the people we love.
We didn’t grow up rich, or even “comfortable”. Financially, my parents struggled… a lot. But you know, it’s all okay because we had more than the richness of money – we had the richness of love. That love carried us all through some heavy, challenging times.
My dad always remained humble and what a kind soul he was! He would do anything in his power to keep his family safe, healthy, and happy. Warren was the kind of father who carried laminated pictures of his children and grandchildren around in his wallet and showed them off in any type of setting. He loved to boast about us, that’s for sure…. so much until we had to pull him away red-faced and embarrassed (even as adults).
When I was in my early 20s, my dad and I joined a bowling team. I wasn’t any good, and frankly, ready to walk away! He coached me into staying and said that it would be unfair to leave the team. He said that any score I achieve is a score that helps the team. He mentored me to be a better team player and try harder. I stuck it out and became so much better. While I am nowhere near a professional bowler, I feel confident to throw the ball down the bowling lane and get some great scores for the team!
This life lesson helped me understand how important working as a team is. If I didn’t have a good game, my father would always say, “don’t sweat the small stuff!” He would also say, “If you can’t fight, and you can’t flee, then just flow”. That always seemed to take the pressure off and make me realize that I can’t always have a perfect game, so just roll with the punches (in bowling and in life!).
My father and I also worked together in the same building. As schedules allowed, which was usually two times a week, we would go to lunch together and his colleagues would come and join us for the “joke of the day”. He was a real jokester and it was so comforting to see how wonderful my dad was able to make people smile! Warren was full of optimism and he loved making people walk away with a positive feeling. The time spent with him as an adult was a blessing that I cherish. It’s so true that my dad was also my best friend.
When dad walked me down the aisle on my wedding day, and then we danced to “Daddy’s Little Girl”, there wasn’t a dry eye in the room… including our eyes! He sang to me and held me close and I knew that my dad was the first man I ever loved.
While I could go on and on, I’ll leave it at this. Josh Groban sings a song called “You Raise Me Up”. The lyrics of the song really hit home and leave me thinking of my incredible father: “You raise me up, so I can stand on mountains; You raise me up, to walk on stormy seas; I am strong, when I am on your shoulders; You raise me up to more than I can be.” I love my dad an awful lot and miss him every single day. Happy Heavenly Father’s Day, Dad!
Julie Mulhern – Director of Human Resources
My Dad’s name is Robert Tringali and is such a wonderful man and human in general. We come from an Italian family, and if you know anything about Italian families, then you know family is everything. Or as we like to say it “la famiglia e tutto”. The fact that my dad is a family man is my favorite thing about him. Whether day or night, rain or shine, right or wrong, if a family member needs help, my dad is the first one there, and that has been his way since I was a young girl.
My dad worked three jobs while my sisters and I were growing up so my mom could stay home and raise us. He taught my sister’s and me to be strong independent women by sending us to college and showing us what it means to have a good work ethic. With him working three jobs, we didn’t see him much during the weekdays, but every Saturday morning, my family and I would wake up to the smell of a great breakfast, often consisting of homemade gravy and biscuits. I’m sure after working so many hours during the week that my dad had to be exhausted, but he wanted to make sure to build memories and be there enjoying life with us at every opportunity.
Despite working all the time, my dad never missed a dance recital, a play, a volleyball game, etc. Not only would he be at every single one, but he had to make sure I knew he was always there. Usually at the end of my dance recitals or plays after clapping would subside, I’d hear “Yay Julebug”. All my friends would wait for that moment, too, just for a laugh. Now that he is retired and with having nine grandchildren, his days consist of going to watch their sports games, gun shoots, swim meets, graduation parades, walking them to their bus stops, etc. He is such an incredible role model to everyone in the family.
In his spare time, my dad enjoys golfing and taking day trips with my mom. Dad, you have been such an instrumental part of my life. I appreciate you more than you know and love you more than words could ever express. Happy Father’s Day.
Kristine Redko – Enterprise Account Manager
When I was 5 ½, my Dad was killed suddenly in a car accident and life changed forever. But, just a few years later, a wonderful man I have called Daddy ever since graced us with his love, wisdom, and faith.
Bill is a chemist by trade, and he introduced us to all kinds of fun and interesting science experiments – some involving liquid nitrogen, which almost gave my mom a heart attack! From day one, he loved my younger brother and me as if we were his own, provided us with an excellent education and even gave up his red corvette for a black van with shag carpeting that we affectionately called The Black Beast.
He fought – and won – against non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma twice, and I feel so blessed to still have him in my life. As you can see from the photo, our greatest shared passion is the Baltimore Ravens, and we speak on the phone EVERY Sunday during football season, me from the west coast (where the games generally start at 10 AM local time). My kids also love their “Papa Bill”, and they sneak him dark chocolate (his favorite) every chance they get. Love you, Daddy!
Mary Hawkins – Tier II Support Senior Specialist
This is my Dad, and his name is Buddy. His given name is Charles, however, when he was little his dad would call him his “Little Buddy” so the name Buddy just stuck.
He is the best Dad and Poppy/Pop-Pop ever! He is the most selfless person I have ever known. He is always there if any of his four kids or 10 grandkids need anything.
Growing up was always so much fun. One memory that sticks out is he would teach us dances from his youth. Fun fact, when my dad was in his teens, he would sometimes be on The Buddy Deane Show which was a Baltimore dance tv show that ran from 1957 to 1964 and the movie Hairspray was based on it!
He would always have something fun to do with us whether it was staying in and watching music videos on MTV or going out to the movies.
My Dad is the hardest worker I have ever known. He got his first job at a very young age as a paperboy. His parents worked and pretty much ran the old Westview Cinema and Drive-In Movie Theater on Route 40 in Catonsville and my Dad would work there.
He was in the Air Force and when he completed his service, he attended college and started his career in the Automotive Industry. He has unlimited knowledge of computers. He loves to play golf, watch Orioles Baseball and Ravens Football. He is a huge Beatles fan. He also attends church and has so much faith in God. He taught himself how to play guitar and we would love listening to him play.
There is not a better person in the world than my Dad. My family and I are the luckiest people in the world to have him in our lives and love him so much.
Patrice Montford-Mayes – Implementation Specialist
My Dad is Johnny Ace Montford and They Broke the Mold When They Made Him.
My father, one of 10 children, six boys and four girls, was born in a small one traffic light town in Wrightsville, Georgia. My Dad, his mother (who was a widow), and his siblings moved to New Jersey when he was 15 years old. My father, affectionately known as Ace, is a HARDWORKING man. While in High school he worked a part-time job in the 9th and 10th grades and a full-time job in the 11th and 12th grades, all to assist his mother in PROVIDING for his siblings.
My father is also a veteran of the Korean War. He was drafted into the U.S. Army at the age of 22 where he SERVED as a Military Police Officer earning an Expert Rifle Marksman Badge. My Dad is not afraid of hard work and after 41 years of service with General Motors he is now retired and able to enjoy the fruits of his labor.
As a child, my Dad had to move several times from house to house, for this reason he made a vow to himself that his family would not have to do the same. My father has provided a STABLE home for his wife (my mother) of 50 years of marriage and children, and to date my parents still live in the same home they built from the ground up in the suburbs of New Jersey.
Today, this amazingly STRONG 82-year-old man fills his day with daily visits to see his grandchildren, driving my mother around town, working in his garden, and fixing anything that may be broken.
Stacy Ward – Implementation Specialist
This is my Dad Rick! He’s in the Ravens shirt with my uncle, grandfather, myself, sister and cousin. I don’t even know where to start. My Dad is the hardest working man that I know. He is an absolute family man and loves his two daughters and two granddaughters like crazy and would do or be there anytime we needed.
My parents will be celebrating their 50th Anniversary this July. They enjoy spending their down time at the casino and playing Keno wherever they can. Dad is looking forward to his retirement next year after working in the asphalt industry for 52 years (started working with my grandfather at 18).
My love of sports comes from Dad. Growing up every football season Sundays was just for football. We watched the Orioles as well as going to several games at good old Memorial stadium and watched Saturday night boxing when they had that on. We even got to see the Baltimore Stallions play. Dad and I watch just about every Ravens game together, unless it is a night game. He has the best one-liners of anyone I know and knows just what to say to make everyone laugh. My Dad is the rock of the family, and I would not know what to do without him!
Tricia O’Connor – Marketing Content Manager
These pictures totally encapsulate my dad. He is always ready for an adventure. Water slides? Check. Roller coasters? Check. Horseback riding? Check. Hiking and fishing? Check. And the best part is he does this all with his grandchildren, all five of them.
Each Sunday, Poppie sits down in a chair on his patio, pulls out his iPad, lights a cigar (we tell him all the time it’s a bad habit), and gets ready for the calls. It may be his grandson in Boston calling to ask about stocks and finances. It may be his daughter-in-law asking about best business practices. It may be his niece calling to discuss real estate. Sometimes it’s my children or me FaceTiming him to let him know what time we’ll be there for Sunday dinner. They love when he makes his homemade Bolognese and Poppie noodles. He usually also calls his dad on Sundays, too. They talk about the weather and PopPops friends at the AmVets bar.
Hours may go by and still his phone will ring. “‘Yello’,” he’ll say, always sounding like he’s simultaneously expecting your call and annoyed you’ve interrupted his online poker game. Except he’s not really annoyed. I like to think he rushes through the greeting so he can get straight into talking about the good stuff. The real reason why you called. And the real reason why we call is there is nobody with the same life experience as Poppie. He gives you advice without ever telling you what to do or why to do it. That’s up to you.
Each year, my dad organizes a multi-generational trip for his children and grandchildren. One year, he and my mum took my brother and his family to Africa on a safari. My children and I got treated to a trek through Glacier National Park and a stay at an Idaho dude ranch. This summer, the whole lot of us are meeting in the Rocky Mountains of Colorado for another multi-gen dude ranch vacation. These trips are the most meaningful experiences of my life because me and my brother and our children are creating memories that will last forever with my parents. My 8-year-old son still talks about hiking with Poppie in North Carolina and finding wild blackberry bushes and stuffing the juicy berries into their mouths. My dad loves to tell the story of hearing the lions roaring in the distance as they tried to sleep in their tents in Africa!
I don’t know how many more phone calls or vacations are in our future, but I do know I don’t take a single one for granted. The big and little things my dad brings into my life are equally important and I am so lucky and thankful he’s my dad. Happy Father’s Day Poppie!
And Happy Father’s Day to all the fantastic dads and grandfathers around the world. We celebrate you!