Worn Hands | Teen Ink

Worn Hands

December 17, 2009
By Anonymous

Greg, my father, born May 21, 1965, as Gregory Lee O’Hair, is not your typical hero; he has never pulled anyone out of a burning building, cured a deadly disease, fought for his country, or even saved a life. He was born in Iowa to a couple that was, at the time, married. At the age of 5, his parents provided him with one younger brother, Jeff. Greg started working officially at the age of 7 where he delivered newspapers around the neighborhood, although, as a 5 year old, he did run an annual, neighborhood Kool-Aid stand. Devoting time to his jobs, he had a busy schedule, but, further than that, he says, “My youth was spent in sports”. Shortly after he turned 16, Greg’s parents got a divorce. Of course it was hard on Greg and his brother, but what else could he do? He had to try and continue his childhood as naturally as possible; his somewhat-muscular build and height over six feet tall allowed him to play on the high school football team. He also played the trumpet. Greg says “I had a mostly normal childhood.” Directly after high school, he attended two years of college at The University of Iowa and two years at Simpson College with a degree in business. Right after college he married his wife Melissa; he currently has four children: Ben, 17, Allie, 14, Annabelle, 10, and Anderson, 4. Since college, Greg has had multiple jobs in business and retail. He was a manager at most of the jobs and motivated with his leadership and determination. He says “I try to make influences on others daily, advancing them, which gives me self-satisfaction.” It is not his physical feats that prove him to be a hero, but it is his sense of leadership, honesty, integrity, diligence, and overall hard work that influence the lives of others around him in a positive way.
Through his many jobs and life experiences, many people relied on Greg for guidance and leadership. His hands, worn from use and labor, point his children and employees in the right direction like a lion directs its pride.
While he worked at Lowe’s Home Improvement Store, he led a crew in Indianapolis that installed 3,000 working smoke detectors into Indiana homes.
Not only did he direct the crew, he also helped to improve the life expectancy of the people in those fortunate homes. The smoke detectors that were correctly installed could help to save the life of a person or even a family in case of a life-threatening fire.
Although he helps to guide his employees and co-workers, Greg also progresses and helps to lead his own children’s lives. He steers them to make the right decisions in life, and even if they do make a wrong choice, he guides them back down the path of righteousness.
In order to become a leader in his line of work, Greg had to illustrate much hard work. He was not handed responsibility and respect from his co-workers and employees; he had to guide through example. After college, my father worked at Payless Cashways, a home improvement store. He was given a job as a supervisor, and through time and leadership by example, he was able to work his way up to manager. Right now Greg is an assistant manager at his job, but because of all his skills and respectable qualities, they have promised him a manager position when one becomes available.
Not only does Greg display hard work at work, but he also displays that quality at home where his children can benefit from the example he has set. When he doesn’t have to work, Greg spends his days helping his wife around the house, often cooking and cleaning. They won’t stop until the job gets done.
Greg supplies most of the income for his family, even though his wife works a few times a week to pay for soccer and the children’s hobbies. He brings in the money for the house, food, car, gas, etc. He has to work tough hours, over 40 a week, to pay for the needs and wants of his children and family. When Greg was asked what he was most proud of, he replied, “My children and the family I have created.” Greg would obviously do anything for his family to ensure that his wife and four children were happy and healthy. His hard work makes him worthy of the happiness that he’s obtained.
Along with Greg’s leadership and hard work, there is his integrity. He is a virtuous man that displays morals and respect in his everyday life. His children know not to lie, cheat, steal, etc. They know they should always use their manners and display common courtesy.
Greg has even exhibited his strong values in the workplace. One of his employees that, unfortunately, is not able to work for him anymore, says, “I would take [my current job away] to come sell for you any day.” Not only do his ethics rub-off on his children, they also extend all the way to his employees and co-workers. Fortunately, Greg has made a positive impact on his workers lives and the lives of his children.
Greg has integrity, hard work, and leadership skills. He is able to make a difference in the workplace and his home environment. He is someone that his kids and employees can look to for a role model and a good influence. Overall, Greg is a good man that is able to impact the lives of others daily. He is someone that would make a good friend, employer, and dad. It is not saving lives’ that makes Greg an everyday hero, it is his values and qualities that he exhibits in a good way to help people better their own lives.

The author's comments:
I wrote this piece about my father to inform others that it does not take extraordinary circumstances to become a hero.

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