Happy Birthday, gira{ph}

Today marks the one year anniversary of this adventure. The day also marks the 20 year anniversary of my Dad’s business too – the person in life I look up to most.  Thanks to him, I grew up with unending optimism that anything is possible in life.

My father grew up in a poor, rural town in Southern Virginia. He was stricken with polio at the age of 3 leaving him paralyzed in one leg and partially in the other. As the only handicapped kid in his small town, he didn’t let it stop him from being the first in our family to go to college, then on to graduate school.  He became a popular research analyst for the furniture industry, and traveled the world speaking and inspiring the industry he loved so dearly.

A few years ago, after several falls, he lost the ability to walk and travel. Bed-ridden for weeks at a time, he ran his small business from the side of his bed. He did whatever it took to provide a good life for his family, share the unending passion he had for business, and inspire the industry he cared about.

Dad taught me a lot of things in life, but here are a few of my favorites:

{Be humble} Dad won every award possible, was on the Today Show, MSNBC, quoted in many publications like the Wall Street Journal, but you’d never know it by his modest nature.  He would often say that he was just fortunate to be in the right place at the right time, simply making the most of life’s circumstances and opportunities.

{Be Generous With Your Time} Dad would give the shirt off his back to anyone in need, both in business and in his personal life.  He has unending compassion for the human spirit. When people come to him for advice, he stops everything he is doing to be an ear to listen.

{Anything is possible with hard work} Dad traveled and worked constantly.  It was exhausting to see how it would wear on his crippled body, but he’d push through to do whatever it took to be successful. Despite overwhelming odds and physical challenges, his determination and optimism led him through the kind of life books are made of.

{Have a Sense of Humor} Dad is one of the funniest people I know. There is nothing too stressful that a little self-depricating humor can’t alleviate. His weight, his bald head, his physical handicap’s – nothing is off limits.

{Challenge The Status Quo} Dad is one of the most creative people I know.  When I am at a loss for ideas, he is one person I call.  Maybe its the entrepreneurial spirit, but Dad constantly challenges ideas and pushes his conservative industry to be more innovative.

{The Best Part of Going Away is Coming Home} Dad would often say that he worked hard because he wanted my brother and I to have everything in life we ever needed.  Although he was often away for business, when he came home his attention was on us.  He made sure we knew we were what was most important in his life.

Cheers to you Dad, 20 years in business and all you taught me through it all.  Thanks for living a life by example.  My greatest wish is that in 19 years, my daughter will be able to say the same.


About giraphcu

Greetings and salutations! Welcome to gira{ph}, a strategic marketing firm that helps credit unions amplify their greatness to create chemistry with consumers. The credit union movement has given so much to us. This is our way of giving back. Enjoy!
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11 Responses to Happy Birthday, gira{ph}

  1. Christy says:

    Happy Birthday, gira{ph}! Really enjoyed this post… sounds like your dad is a pretty smart man. 😉 Bet he is quite proud of the kind of little “giraffe” he raised…. one that doesn’t just wait for anything to come to her either. Great year! Toot, Toot!

  2. Kathy Epperson says:

    BEAUTIFUL! It made me cry! I am so proud of you!

    Love, Mom

  3. Dexter Oliver says:

    I couldn’t have said it better. Jerry has been my 4 year college roommate, and friend for 44 years. As he will understand, I quote Road Warrior Hawk’s catch phrase: “Ahhhh, what a rush!”

  4. Kim T. Wall says:

    Well said, Kelley! And, congratulations on your one year anniversary!

  5. Kim Saucier says:

    Happy Birthday Gira{ph} and congratulations! Beautiful article!

  6. Mandy says:

    This was moving and unforgettable Kelley! Congratulations and a Happy Birthday is in order for one year and many more to follow.

  7. Susan Miller says:

    Congratulations, Kelley! This was awesome…

  8. Very inspiring! Thanks for sharing, Kelley.

  9. Congratulations Kelley! I love that you started the “favorite list” with “humility”. You are an observable inspiration…

    Josh Allison

  10. Ken Gonyer says:

    A belated Happy Birthday to gira{ph}! What a moving tribute to your father. As a parent, it made me think about how much our kids watch us, learn from us, and even follow in our footsteps – if not in occupation, at least in attitude.

  11. Happy Birthday to giraph! Wonderful and inspiring tribute to your dad as well. He certainly did a great job passing on his greatest qualities to you.

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