PREFACE

True greatness is determined not by what is accomplished but rather by what is overcome.

– Thomas Sherman Dinette Jr.

 

My dad was a member of the Greatest Generation and part of an exclusive and extraordinary fraternity—the Unsung Heroes of World War II. As such, his sacrifices and those of his fellow mariners were not readily apparent or appreciated in their day. This was especially poignant to the families of those merchant mariners who made the ultimate sacrifice.

 

It could also be said that my father was the epitome of the American success story—the American dream. Hard work, perseverance, an unyielding will, extraordinary belief in one’s self, and a “can do” attitude was directed toward everything he attempted. His overt desire to succeed was palpable to everyone around him. He lived by a personal conviction to never doubt your dreams and what you can become.

Despite his humble beginnings, lack of formal education, and personal challenges of great magnitude, my dad achieved far more and developed as a person more than anyone could have ever imagined. He accomplished this through sheer determination and self-effort to be the best at whatever he was doing. He is a living representative of the story of America.

 

Love for family was my dad’s “North Star,” the beacon that governed his behavior his entire life. His generosity to us and others was unequaled.

 

As one might expect, a multiplicity of factors, influences, people, circumstances, and opportunities propelled my father to greatness. It is to his credit that he maximized all these factors to work for him and not against him. He created his own set of rules rather than choosing to live according to rules imposed upon him by others. He did so firstly in his mind, then followed up with a tenacious commitment to accomplish his goals, whatever the costs—more as a reformer than a rebel.

 

I welcome you to join me on this personal pilgrimage—a journey of the heart.