Column- Dan O’Callaghan


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As I approach the last days of my high school experience, I think it’s important to look at the people who inspired me to work harder and strive to be better. One of those people is my grandfather. My grandfather continues to inspire me without even trying, and I don’t think I can ever express the amount of gratitude I have for the man for all that he has done for me.
My grandfather was born in Saginaw in the 1930s, a time of great strife. His parents divorced when he was at a young age. He had to look after himself when he was living with his mother, who treated him unfairly and unjustly, to say the least. Despite this, Grandpa continued to grow and strive to go to school and get an education. Grandpa never complained, and despite being given what would seem like a poor hand in life, continued to work harder and not look back. Making himself his own man and pursuing greatness
If there’s an event I won’t ever forget with him, it would most definitely be the time he took me to Frankenmuth when I was about 12. This is the area his father’s family had lived. He showed me the old houses from his family, and the old stove his family had used to heat their homes and bake with. As we stood in that field gazing on what was, I really began to understand my roots more, something I had honestly never thought about. Driving back home he told me stories from his youth and I grew to have more respect the more I heard them and learned what he went through.
My Aunt Cheryl once told me the story of how when they lived in Montana, my grandfather owned a tool rental business. When people were in need, my grandfather would simply loan the tools to them without asking for money. While this wasn’t a good business model, it showed just how kind and compassionate the man is. He installed these values in his grandchildren and always taught us never to work for greed, but for the goodness of our heart, and to help others at any chance we got. While in Montana, he was able to raise his family and always ensure food was on the table, never taking his blessings for granted and never being concerned about the materialistic things in life.
Grandpa has always been a man of faith, and when his neighbor was in need he helped them out and still helps them out. No matter what sex, race, or religion you are, my grandfather is and was there to help if you came to him in need. I can’t walk around town with him for more than five minutes without someone coming up and saying hi to him. Every one of these people I’ve met has spoken highly of him, even those I meet without him there and just mention I’m a Janson to.
Growing up on his house and farm I was never bored thanks to the endless fun we had there. Being able to experience nature was great for me growing up and I really thank my grandfather for that and for working so hard to get that farm.
My grandfather is a mechanical genius. Ask anyone whose things he’s fixed and they’ll agree; from my girlfriend’s car to my toys as a child, he’s always been there to work and help us out. When it comes to all of my mechanical knowledge I have him to thank for it, as he’s always giving me something new to try and learn. This has always inspired me and made me want to help others and be a better person. When I think about complaining about the hand I was given, I try to remember Grandpa. He took the poor hand he was given and tossed it. He made a new hand for himself through hard work, never complaining and never playing the victim card – because he has always been above that. So, Grandpa, for all the life lessons and help you give me, I thank you.