Two years! That’s the Chamber work anniversary I’m celebrating today. It certainly has
been full of unexpected twists and turns thanks to COVID. I joke with my coworkers and
our board members that I’m a redshirt freshman. Twenty-four months in and there are
still annual Chamber and EDC events that I’ve not experienced.
Maybe you’re surprised to hear a young-ish (okay, technically middle-aged) woman use
a sports analogy to describe her work experience. On the surface you may think I’m a
girly girl. Afterall, I do like all the fun girly stuff – clothes, shoes, jewelry, handbags,
makeup, etc. But there’s a good explanation as to why sports analogies come easy to
me, which happens to be timely given that Father’s Day is next weekend.
I’m the oldest of three girls! I know what you’re thinking…you feel sorry for my daddy
who had to raise three sassy, expensive girls. I like to think we were actually pretty easy
as far as girls go, except maybe my middle sister...it’s always the middle child that’s
difficult, right? Hehe. But I digress.
I would say I am my dad’s token tomboy. Growing up, you were more likely to find me
outside playing kickball, riding my bike, or catching lightning bugs or frogs than inside
playing with dolls. Many of my childhood memories with dad revolved around sports.
We played catch in the front yard and he was my softball coach. Our family spent many
hours at his men’s softball or basketball games. Dad and I watched many Dallas
Cowboys, Texas Rangers, and college football games. I asked a million questions! My
poor daddy. Most of the time he was patient with me, but there was a time or two he
finally demanded my silence so he could hear the game. I couldn’t help it. I wanted to
know and understand it all.
One thing that I inherited from my dad that I believe is more genetic than learned is an
extremely competitive nature. That’s how I became a Texas Longhorns fan in my
rebellious teenage years. Dad is a native Oklahoman and a diehard OU fan. Someone
had to pull for the home state team during all those Red River Rivalry games! It’s still
something we have fun with to this day.
Of course, a love for sports isn’t all I learned from my dad. He taught me so much more.
This year, Lord willing, my dad will retire from his 45-year career with Tom Thumb (now
Albertson’s) working in their distribution center. It’s the only job I’ve ever known him to
have. He was only 21 years old when he started there. His loyalty to that job has meant
following them wherever they were based. He currently drives from Forney to Roanoke
everyday. In all those years, he never called in sick. That is until he tested positive for
COVID back in December. It was so hard for him to make that call. In fact, he wasn’t
even sure how to go about it. The HR lady laughed at him for that. It’s almost as though
he worked so hard for this 45-year perfect attendance award that doesn’t exist. He
takes great pride in his work and in being a dedicated employee. I admire that and
aspire to be the same.
He also taught me the importance of punctuality, how to show respect, what it means to
be a dedicated spouse (this year my parents will celebrate 47 years of marriage), a
loving and involved parent, and most importantly he taught me about the love and
forgiveness of God.
I hope my dad realizes the significant impression he has had on me. As far as dads go,
mine has hit it out of the park! Happy Father’s Day to my daddy, Scott Heilaman, and to
all the father’s out there.