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Thursday, July 23, 2009

About Me

I was born in Tucson, Arizona and shortly thereafter my father, a major in the United States Air Force, was killed in action over Pleiku, South Vietnam. I was raised by my mom with help from her parents.

In school I excelled in both studies and social activities and was active in Church. I graduated High School with a 3.75 GPA, was awarded two scholarships, and named in the Who's Who of American High School Students. Upon graduation from high school I attended a community college and earned an Associate of Arts degree.

I then moved to Los Angeles to attend the University of California Los Angeles with a double major in International Relations and International Law. While attending College, I worked for Schaffer Ambulance.

I enlisted in the Air Force and worked as a firefighter/paramedic. While in the Air Force I traveled extensively throughout Europe and Southwest Asia. I served in numerous operations including Desert Storm 1, Provide Promise, the Bosnian Conflict, Operation Joint Guard and others. I served in positions both in NATO and with the United Nations. I was also selected as a member of the space shuttle Rescue and Recovery team. There is a saying that "there are no atheists in foxholes" and it was during my missions, most especially the Desert Storm conflict, and the Khobar Tower bombing, that I really started regaining my faith and conviction in the Catholic Church and in my Savior, Jesus Christ. It was also during this time that I made a firm and conscious decision, over and above my confirmation; I wanted to belong and remain a practicing and true member of the Roman Catholic Church. My last duty station was Peterson Air Force Base in Colorado Springs, Colorado.

During my career in the United States Air Force, I was promoted to the rank of Staff Sergeant and received numerous awards, medals, unit and organizational citations, and personal awards. I look back on my career in the United States Air Force and realize that God provided me the opportunity to return to and deepen my faith, see the world, experience other peoples and cultures, and provide me with a belief system and discipline that will sustain me for the rest of my life.

After leaving the military, I worked for a mortgage company for a little over a year before I was offered a position as a loan officer for TCF Bank. I also continued my firefighting career by volunteering with Tri-Lakes Monument Fire, the El Paso County Sheriff’s Department Hazardous Materials Team and several other local departments. I was happy to work shifts during my off time and responded when needed. I was also involved in several military veterans groups.

My tenure with TCF Bank was successful and I found myself where I never expected to be. I started out as a loan officer and within the first year was asked to manage the first freestanding TCF Bank in the state of Colorado. That branch grew from $50,000.00 to in excess of $12 million in four years. This significantly exceeded the model for a new branch as set forth by the company. I was eventually promoted to the position of regional manager. Thereafter, I was promoted to Vice President and was asked to open and head a new department for the bank. Within five years of starting at the bank, I found myself the Vice President in charge of Bankruptcy/Foreclosure/REO Properties for the state of Colorado. Remembering that I had no experience or training in this career field prior to starting with the bank, I can only thank God for my success.

In November of 2005, I again started considering the priesthood. This time was quite different from all the other times (since age 12) that I had considered the priesthood. By February of 2006 I knew I had to talk to someone about this call that was getting stronger and stronger and wouldn't let me rest. I sat down after a Sunday Mass with my pastor. He directed me to speak with Father Jim Williams the vocation director. Over the next three years I followed the direction of my spiritual and vocation directors to discern my call to the priesthood. As I was previously married, I also went through the annulment process during this time.

Once again I have placed my entire life in God's hands. I sold my home as well as most of my belongings in anticipation of entering the seminary. As I reflect back upon my life I realize that God has always guided my path in life whether I realized it or not; whether I wanted Him to or not. I realize that He has always placed good people in my life to help me and support me. He provided a strong foundation with my Mother and Grandparents to form my faith in a strong and resilient way. I find the common thread throughout all of my careers and jobs is a desire to help others. I realize that the directions I have taken, and the careers I have chosen, have provided me with the experience that I will need to be a good priest, a good counselor, and work for the greater glory of God. It is with great humility and deep gratitude that I look upon my life and thank God for the provisions, people and guidance He has granted. I pray that He will continue to guide me and provide me with the graces needed to heed His call. I now attend Kenrick-Glennon Seminary in St. Louis, MO and I look forward to the next chapter in my life with great expectation and anticipation. It is with humility and gratitude that I look forward to being a priest in the Roman Catholic Church.

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