Rose Petals: Making a Difference
Kathleene Runnels is responsible for this content, which is not edited by the Wilson County News or wilsoncountynews.com.
There is a quote by some anonymous writer that reads like this: “Who we are and what we become is determined by those who love us.” There is so much truth to that statement; but I must add these lines: “...and by what we do with that love....” Teachers often have students who are in dire need, and sometimes, we have the opportunity to help those students. Here’s a glimpse of one such student who did something with the help he was offered.
Randy was quiet, studious, obedient, and courteous, ultimately involved in several clubs: DECA, Manpower, and NHS. He says it was important to him that he “act as a role model to my brothers and sisters by staying out of trouble and doing well in school.” But, Randy admits candidly, “Life was a struggle back then.” Shortly after his birth in South Texas in 1960, the family had to move to the Panhandle where his parents worked the cotton fields. When Randy was old enough to work, he too worked the fields alongside his parents. Then sadly, in 1975, Randy’s father, passed away. So his mother packed up the family and moved back to the town of her roots to live with Randy’s grandfather. For the family, it was “coming back home,” but times were difficult. With six children and several adults, there were now nine living in a two-bedroom house with no hot water, no a/c, no heating. So at the age of fourteen, Randy went to work to help his family. And he worked throughout his four years of high school, growing up sooner than most children that age.
But Randy gratefully recalls the teachers who made a difference, teachers who were caring and considerate and offered words of encouragement. One example was when the head of the Athletics Department didn’t allow him to pay for driver’s education and even let him use his car to take the driver’s test, even though Randy was never in athletics. There were others, but two special mentors were the superintendent of school and high school counselor. They both told Randy that they had gone to Texas A&I in Kingsville, and they encouraged him to go there as well. With these men advising him, he never considered going anywhere else, but he did have to ask, “Where’s Kingsville?” Even today, Randy stands in awe of the fact that someone so important as the superintendent of schools had noticed him and had taken an interest in his life.
Randy hitched a ride to Kingsville, and for those four years, continuing to help his family, he had a job taking care of a student who had muscular dystrophy. “By doing this,” Randy reflects, “it made me appreciate life that much more. One must never take their health for granted.” Also, during the summers, Randy worked for construction companies.
With a major in Business and Finance, following graduation, Randy went directly to work for the FDIC Liquidation Division in Dallas. Then in January, 1984, a bank from his home town called him and offered him a job as a management trainee. Today, having received his Masters in Business and completed commercial banking school, Randy is currently Senior Vice President and on the Board of Directors of this community bank, which he calls home.
I applaud Randy and so many like him who accept help and make something of their lives, as opposed to some others I can think of who have been given every opportunity but lack the character, work ethic, and drive to make a difference in their own lives and those of their families and communities. God bless teachers who care enough to help. And God bless the kids who run with that help.