Growing up, I think it would be fair to say that I quite literally was entrenched in a “network” of love and support. In fact, the “network” was a series of 4 bedrooms which housed my dad, stepmother, 2 brothers, 3 stepbrothers, and a cousin for most of the later years of my adolescence. I was raised in Porter, Texas which is a small town just on the outskirts of the Houston metropolitan area. I can’t say that we children ever wanted for anything even though we didn’t realize how incredibly hard our parents had worked to make it so. I wouldn’t actually find out until later in life that my parents would often pawn jewelry and personal items to make sure that we could have the best Christmas possible; and they would spend the next few months slowly repurchasing their personal items. My mother is also an amazing person in my life. She has always been someone that I could talk to about anything and has always been there for me in my times of need. I can't even recall how many times she has helped to counsel me through the bad times or actually, physically helped when I was down. Growing up with parents like this, how could one not have an amazing outlook on life after graduating high school?
After graduating, I had decided (a year prior to graduation, actually) that I was going to join the Army and serve my country. I have to admit, the recruiting videos showing all of the Airborne Rangers jumping from planes, repelling down walls, and shooting weapons are quite effective in luring a young man into a state of “that could be me.” While I never ended up in a Ranger battalion, I did serve as an infantryman in the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault) as well as the Texas National Guard for a total of 8 years. I definitely enjoyed my time in the service, and in fact, I am still serving in the US Army Reserves as an engineer today.
After completely separating from the military in 2008, my life started to look completely different than what it had in the previous decade. I was working for my dad in his small business, McKithern Machine Works, Inc., and I had started taking college courses at Lonestar College. By the end of the year, something happened that would change every dream, potential path, and ideal that I held; I met my future wife.
Today, we have been married for nearly four years and we have been there for each other through thick and thin. With the support of my wife, I was able to graduate with a Bachelor’s in History and started working for Jenny Craig, Inc. as a Program Director. After quickly advancing to a manager position, I knew that I had found my calling in business. Not only am I a professional manager for a large company, but thanks to my wife’s courageous undertaking of starting her photography business, Tracy McKithern Photography, I have also taken up web design and have continued to tune my skills in both designing and coding.
Honestly, I am right where I want to be. Sure, I will always continue to progress in my professional life, but no matter how spectacularly I fail or succeed, everything I truly need to survive is waiting for me at home….right now.
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