One sunny morning in June of 2005, a small group of people gathered in a local school parking lot in Cincinnati, Ohio. We congregated on that fine morning to send off my dad and his friend on a journey to Los Angeles, California. They were spending the next three weeks pedaling ten speed bikes over two thousand miles across the country in order to raise money for St. Jude Children’s Research Hospital in Memphis, Tennessee. While I was only eleven years old at the time of my dad’s trip, I fully understood what he was doing and why he was doing it. After we said our goodbyes, the two fourty year old men bravely started their expedition and my mom, brother, sister, and I hurried to get back into our car. We excitedly drove up next to my dad as he rode that first stretch of land towards his destination. I can still clearly remember sticking my head out the window and screaming, “GOODBYE DAD! I LOVE YOU! BE CAREFUL!” and in that moment I was filled with utter pride. Tears streamed down my face as I watched my biggest hero selflessly start a journey that could benefit the lives of many individuals affected by cancer.
Growing up, I admired my dad’s thoughtfulness for others. Putting others first is something he has always strived to do, and I know that he’s done his best to exemplify this to my brother, sister, and I. I have seen him do this not only through his bike trip, but in his everyday life as well. His job as an insurance agent is one that requires him to help people in their time of need or loss and oftentimes he goes out of his way to help his customers. Instead of only fulfilling his role as their insurance agent behind a desk by filling out paperwork and collecting money, he oftentimes helps repair his customers’ houses whether they have been damaged by flooding, wind storms, or fires.
My family consists of ten aunts and uncles and a total of twenty-five cousins and tends to be pretty hectic. We are always busy with “The Kaine Clan” and my dad is unquestionably the go-to-guy for anyone who needs help. He’s helped repair pools, plan parties, move furniture, organize taxes, and countless other acts of kindness over the years. If my dad is capable of helping, he’ll be there without a doubt and that is one of the many things I admire about him.
My dad’s showing of selflessness and care for others has been a mountain that I have been fortunate enough to look upon when making decisions throughout my life. Thanks to him I am fully aware of what the right thing to do is in situations where doing the right thing becomes a challenge. He has instilled in me this knowledge and the next step in my life is how I apply that knowledge. Instead of looking at a situation and thinking of only myself, I have learned to take into account how my decisions will affect others also. I cannot say that I always make the right decision in these situations, but I can say that I have done a lot more with my life and influenced others to do the same because of my dad’s guidance and example. The comfort of knowing that he will always be there to help and support me no matter what I do with my life is a feeling that cannot be described. Having a man as generous and loving as my father to look up to throughout my life has inspired and encouraged me to strive to make my life as meaningful as his has been.