The package arrived on a Saturday as l recall.  I opened it and found the book, The Loss That Is Forever, subtitled, The Lifelong Impact of the Early Death of a Mother or Father, by Maxine Harris, Ph.D.

I began to read and could not put the book down, having lost my father at age thirteen.  Through pages about “absolute catastrophe” and “total discontinuity” I re-lived those vulnerabilities during days of the realizing I had not only lost a dad, but also my ticket for an education.  The book was sent by a friend, who shared the loss of a parent at an early age.  The book’s message came through to us as we related our experience – the moment you lose a parent, your childhood is over!

Fortunately, I had athletic talent and realized that I could win a college scholarship through excelling at football.  I had excellent coaches and I learned the quarterback position with great intensity borne out of not just the pleasure of playing, but the deep need to overcome the loss of my father.  My effort led to scholarship offers and I choose the University of Virginia.

My career at Virginia not only concluded by leading the ACC in passing, and winning more ACC games than any team in UVA history up to that time, but also by winning the University’s award for the Male Outstanding Scholar – Athlete, as well as playing in the East – West Shrine Benefit Game for Crippled Children.  One of the highlights of those days was a big win over West Virginia as reported in the New York Times – “Virginia 41-0 Victor Over West Virginia As Hodges Excels.”

Subsequently, I believe I owe my success in proposal consulting at OCI to these early days of dedication, hard work, and a deep will to win that came from losing my father.  He would be proud!