The month of July has always held a special place for me. It’s my birthday month and, as a child, that meant equal parts anticipation and joy. The predictably nicer weather and not having even one day of school elevated its status. As I got older, I came to appreciate this month even more, as we as a nation celebrate Independence Day.
As the child of immigrants to the United States, I don’t take the privilege of living here for granted. My parents were a family of three when my mother, a nurse, was given the opportunity to immigrate to the United States when a hospital representative in Princeton, WV, contacted her because of a nursing shortage in their community. My mother agreed, but she was young, had never seen the United States and would arrive here alone. So, the hospital arranged for her to stay with a sweet widow named Mrs. Clay and her daughter, Patty. The two of them took care of my mother like she was a member of their own family and they helped her learn what it means to be an American. Over the years, we all became very close. Growing up, Mrs. Clay was “Grandma” to me.
My father and my older brother arrived in the United States a few years later, after they worked through the naturalization process to legally immigrate here. I have the distinction of being the first person from either side of my family to be born on U.S. soil. There was nothing I did to earn that, but I’m grateful for it, as it impacted me in numerous ways.
My parents didn’t have any relatives here in the United States, but they made it through the kind support of the community they built. This country offered them opportunities they would never have gotten anywhere else. My father has a high school education and here, he used his God-given talents and strong work ethic to make his way into management in the automotive industry. He even owned his own franchise for a good portion of his career.
My life’s journey has been different from my parents’ journey. I am grateful for the opportunities that I’ve been afforded and the choices that I’ve been able to make because I’ve spent my whole life in the United States.
One of those choices led me to the role of Executive Director of the American Society of Home Inspectors. ASHI reflects the best ideals, values and principles that the United States and Canada possess as societies. There are opportunities for education, service, mentorship and more, and these opportunities can impact the lives of individual inspectors who are looking to grow their business while serving their clients and their communities.
ASHI is a community that upholds its members during difficult and trying times, such as those we as a nation are experiencing in 2020. Even now, we feel the uncertainty on the horizon. ASHI’s strength lies in the fact that we are a diverse set of individuals, from a wide assortment of backgrounds, who create a beautiful tapestry together.
ASHI’s strength lies in the fact that we are a diverse set of individuals, from a wide assortment of backgrounds, who create a beautiful tapestry together.
Let’s continue to be the ASHI that takes the opportunity to make a difference—collectively and individually—by helping people grow in this profession and by caring for one another in this community. My father adamantly believes that the United States offers the opportunity for success to those who are willing to put in the work and embrace the challenges ahead of them, and I wholeheartedly agree with that.
Let’s do the work, embrace the challenges and, in doing so, position ASHI and the whole ASHI community to welcome new opportunities for success.