My biggest role model is not an actor or an actress. My biggest role model is not a musician or in a band. My biggest role model is not a celebrity. My biggest role model is not famous.
For the past 20 years, I had been lucky enough to get to know and spend time with my Grandpa Urban until he died on June 6 of this year after battling several strokes, seizures, and cancer. My grandpa’s many accomplishments and his genuine and strong character are the reasons why he was, is, and always will be my biggest role model.
My Grandpa Urban was born in Celina, Ohio on September 17, 1931. When he was a teenager, he lost all of the fingers on his right hand in a farming accident, and he quickly had to learn to adjust with having just one hand. Despite this challenge, he never let having one hand get in the way of anything, and he strived to be just as dedicated and hard-working as a person with two hands.
When my grandpa was 12 days shy of turning 22, he married my grandma Mary and they had 5 children together, with one of those kids being my dad. My grandpa and grandma were about to share their 60th wedding anniversary when he died, and I know if I would have asked him, he would have told me that marrying my grandma was his greatest accomplishment.
My grandpa was the most generous and dedicated person I know. He was a member of Holy Redeemer Parish in New Bremen, where he worked as a parish council member and a lector for numerous years. Before every meal he ate, he would say a prayer, and he went to church twice a week, if not more. I always found it so amazing that he had so much faith and he was persistent in attempting to help me and my fourteen cousins find our faith as well.
In addition to being an active member of his church until he died, he was also the mayor of New Bremen for eleven years, from 1984 to 1995. Before he became mayor, he was on the New Bremen Village Council for years. After he served New Bremen as the mayor for eleven years, he became the Director of Economical Development, and contributed in forming the New Bremen Industrial Park. He was also a charter member of the New Bremen/New Knoxville Rotary Club and a Chairman of the High School Career Day, where high school juniors met with professionals in their desired career choice to job shadow them for a day. Somehow, my grandpa had time to do all of these activities while he worked at STAMCO in New Bremen as an engineer, where he worked for more than 40 years. With the little spare time he did have, he enjoyed going to the casino to play video poker, bowling in a league with my dad and my uncle, and fishing with my other uncle. My grandpa would take fishing trips to Canada every year with my two uncles and some of his friends.
Not only was my grandpa a very hard-working man, he was also the smartest and most genuine person I have ever had the privilege of knowing. He taught me that no matter what obstacles you face, you can do anything you set your mind to. He also told me to never give up on my dreams because I can make them happen. This is why my Grandpa Urban will always be my biggest role model. I can also confidently say that I have a guardian angel watching over me in Heaven, and I can only hope that I have made him proud, and continue to make him proud as I enter my future and make all of my dreams come true.