Tuesday, December 20, 2011

My Dad

Yesterday, I had the privilege of going to the Investiture Ceremony for Chesterfield County. My dad, Richard A. Cordle, was being sworn in for another four year term as Treasurer of Chesterfield County. It was a beautiful service. Before you even entered the building, the twinkling lights and greenery that masked the grounds were breathtaking. The luminaries that lit the path were festive, and the participants dressed in full costumes presenting the living history of Chesterfield County were intriguing (even for those of us who are not history buffs). As you entered the public meeting room you were greeted with warms smiles, fancy suits and a beautiful wreathe that encompassed the smell of the holidays. Smiling faces filled the room. Family and friends poured in the aisles. And honored guest took their places in the front.

Arlene McGuire, the former Treasure of Chesterfield County received a life time achievement award. As my dad proudly introduced this amazing woman, who has dedicated over 42 years of her life to the betterment of the county, and who has not only been my father's mentor, but one of his most dedicated and faithful friends, there was not a dry eye to be found. In his introduction he shared this quote: "Good parents give their children roots and wings" by Jonas Salk. Arlene has been just that for my dad, a parent, professional and personally. She has helped him grow deep roots, yet encouraged him to soar on his own wings. They have a very special bond, and she will forever hold dear place in his heart, and for that matter, mine too.

Last night I had the honor to stand beside my dad and hold the Bible upon which he took his oath. I was proud! A little boy who grew up in the sticks of Victoria, VA, who dreamed what seemed like the impossible dream. The path before him: refrigeration school. The path he chose: hard work, sweat and tears. He worked full time, took evening classes at VCU and managed to juggle a family simultaneously. It was not easy, and there were countless sacrifices, but in 1991 I was standing where I stood last night, by his side as he took his oath.

At the reception, I was greeted with folks eager to share praises about my dad. Even though they shared nothing that I didn't already know, I was more than happy to listen. One gentleman came up and said that of all the public officials, he has never heard one negative thing about my dad. My response was a joking invitation to dinner to hear my stories. I know my dad's not perfect, actually he will be the first one to admit he hasn't always done things right, but it does not change the fact that I could not be more proud to be his daughter, more proud to be his friend, or more proud to stand by his side.

I believe roots and wings come from sharing our lives. Arlene has shared and continues to share her wisdom, her successes, her failures, her disappointments, her joys, her dreams. She continues to cultivate roots and inspire flight among many people. She has taught my dad to do the same. Professionally, he has filled some big shoes, and he has done an outstanding job in doing so. I look at his staff and marvel at the passion, joy, and comradely that overflows from that office. And personally, he has had a hand in my growth. And with his encouragement I've been able to soar on my own wings.

I have been truly blessed with several folks who rightfully so could have a page written on them and their influence over my life. But today, this one is for my dad.

Thank you dad! Thank you for all the unseen tears, unheard prayers and unknown support. Your unwavering stance in my life has never gone unnoticed. You have taught me never to settle, to reach for the stars and have given me the confidence to make a difference in this world. You have provided countless memories filled with laughter. You encourage me to step outside of my comfort zone and to let loose. You have taught me to strive for excellence in all I do. You have proven that no matter what, you will always be there. You have given space when it has been needed, and have always come to find me if I even got lost. You've always had an opened door, a place at your table, and a hand to hold. You have always pointed me to look above, to keep my focus on Christ. You've taught me its okay to fall, and have helped me up several times. You have taught me to be independent and at time strong willed, yet to ask for help and lean on others when needed. Thank you for pouring into my life. I could not be more proud of you, your growth, and your accomplishments. I appreciate all you have done and for all the sacrifices you have made. I love you more than you know!!!

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