"Reading is Knowledge and Knowledge is Freedom"
I was given my first book when I was ten years old. The thick, hardcover book, "The Lonesome Gods," by Louis L'Amour was presented to me in a cedar cigar box by my older brother Bill. Each time I opened the pages, the woody and spicy aroma of cedar paired with the scent of tobacco leaf brought me back in time to the place of the book's story … the high desert plains of the Old Wild West.
As a young and adventurous boy, I admired my older brother Bill. He represented to me everything I wanted when I became a man. He was a very successful and self-made businessman mastering everything he did. His passions in life included the love of his horses, wearing cowboy hats and boots, chopping and splitting wood, driving Ford pickups, smoking cigars, eating thick steaks, collecting guns, drinking fine whiskey, and more than anything … reading books. Above all, his true passion and love in life were his wife and children.
He influenced me at an early age with the vital importance of reading and self-development. Bill never had the opportunity to attend college but developed his knowledge base and intellect through voracious reading. He would tell me, "Ignorance is never an excuse - every town has a library. Get a library card and read books for free. Don't waste your life in front of the TV." Today, with the advent of technology and the internet, knowledge is at the tip of our fingertips, increasing the accessibility to learn.
In April of 2003, while performing combat operations in Iraq, I received an emergency Red Cross phone call from my sister informing me Bill was diagnosed with pancreatic cancer - he didn't have much time to live. Thankfully, I was able to see him before he died ... he passed away in October 2003. I dedicate this page to Bill for instilling in me the importance and value of continual self-development through reading and education. Thank you Bill.