It's all because of dad

  • Published
  • By Tech. Sgt. Scott T. Sturkol
  • U.S. Air Force Expeditionary Center Public Affairs
This past Father's Day, when I opened cards and gifts from my children and grandchildren, it showed me how appreciated I am to those I'm lucky enough to call my family.

Growing up, however, I had a model and a mentor to whom I've never publicly given a lot of credit to but I believe is one of the most influential people in my life both past and present -- my dad David Sturkol. 

From a young boy on, my dad did so many things to help mold me into the person I am today. He first and foremost always made a point to let all of his children know that "family comes first," no matter what.

Dad grew up with that same principle instilled in him by his father Arne, my grandfather, and passed it on to his children. His dedication to family was evidenced when he delayed graduating from high school in the 1960s to go to work to help his family make it through a tight spot. He could have just kept going to school, but he knew he could have a greater impact helping his family. The bottom line here is the sum is greater than the parts and that as a whole; a family can pull together and make it through anything.

It's fairly often I hear or see stories of families broken by abuse, drugs, or worse things. In my family growing up, it was always known we had a warm, safe and comfortable place to come home to. Dad made sure we were always cared for and had everything we needed. For my children, I've tried to do that very same thing even after my oldest children have left home.

I also learned, from dad, that when you are married you are married for life. My mom and dad have been married 42 years now. It makes my 16 years of being married sound like a drop in the bucket. Being married is not a life-long honeymoon and you have to work at it - dad taught me that. I know that you have your ups and downs in a marriage, but the important thing is that you maintain that endless love for your spouse no matter what. One person can accomplish much, but together with your spouse you can fulfill dreams.

Another thing dad has always emphasized is the importance of being a hard worker and having job loyalty. Having a good work ethic has certainly helped me excel in my military career. Actually, it has made some things seem easier for me than it might be for others. All I have to tell people is I grew up splitting and piling wood to get through long winters and they say, "that explains it all."

I know when I joined the military, at first, it may have not been the path my father imagined for me but I also knew he supported it. Through all the years in this career it has meant a lot to have his support and to be able to call on him at any time I've needed advice, support or a listening ear.

I consider myself a successful dad and granddad, but I model what I am after my own dad. So to that I say to him thanks in so many ways because who I am today is all because of dad.