Monday, June 18, 2012

My Husband: A Graduate of Distinction

On June 8, Jonathan was recognized as one of the four inaugural winners of the new Graduates of Distinction award from Rainier High School.

It is quite an honor for Jonathan, as two of the four recipients as slightly older, having graduated from Rainier in the 1940s and Jonathan is the youngest award winner, having graduated in 2000.  The award is designed to recognize graduates of Rainier who have made an impact on their world -- post-high school -- in a very significant way through their communities, professions or careers.  It's also to give current students a vision of what they can do as well. 

I found it a little amusing as to what the high school students picked out of his biography to highlight -- definitely things that are important to them (being college student body president, graduating with honors, and was president of his fraternity).  Those are great, but by no means the only things that make him worthy of the title. 

I wanted to share part of his application for the award -- which also required 5 letters of recommendation from people in the community.   For those who recommended him, Chief Rita, Tom, Mark, Noah and Chris, it means so much to us that you took the time to do so.  Thank you!

This was (and is) my perspective that I submitted:

“My papa makes people happy.” 
Our three-year-old son, Thomas, thinks the world of his papa.  I think the world of him, as well.  Five years ago, we met by chance.  Three short months later he proposed, and six months later we married. It was one of the best decisions I have ever made. 
Though he lost both of his parents by the time he graduated from college, he never let his circumstances define him.  He pursued excellence in high school and on through college.  He is not a man to complain of the challenges he faced, he simply focused on overcoming them.  He put himself through law school, earning a doctorate and building a successful law practice in the South Sound. 
A close friend of ours called Jonathan his “Yoda”.  Wise beyond his years, patient, hardworking, and dedicated to serve those he cares about.  He desires to serve – currently through his role as Fire Commissioner and as our team captain for the American Cancer Society’s Relay For Life.  Having lost his mom to cancer, our involvement with the Society is one of the greatest ways that we work to ensure that neither of our boys has to say goodbye to us as parents because of the disease. 
One of my proudest moments as a wife and Relayer was after Jonathan was invited to speak as a keynote about “estate planning to men and women diagnosed with cancer” at a cancer survivors’ fair at St. Peter’s Hospital in Olympia.  Admittedly, this is never an easy topic to present or discuss, as it is with most end-of-life discussions.  Jonathan approached the topic with grace, candor and humor…and received the highest reviews of all presenters at the conference.  They would have been stunned to find out he was still in his 20s when he presented.  He was the very first person invited back to speak this year. 
Amidst people’s most difficult moments and discussions, he’s strong and steadfast.  He brings those around him joy, as Thomas observed.  “He makes them happy.”
If the “Graduates of Distinction” are to inspire future Rainier students in their quest on how to achieve in their lives, I recommend my husband without reservation. 
My greatest joy in life is that our two sons, Thomas and John Paul, have a papa who loves them unconditionally and gives them an incredible example of how to live their lives.  We are blessed beyond measure by him. 
Congratulations, Doc.  We are so very proud of you!

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