My wife Staci and I met while we were both attending Illinois State University. We were married shortly after graduation in 1998 and moved to Janesville, Wisconsin where I started my career as a financial advisor. In 2000, I was recruited by a national financial services firm to take over their Cedar Falls, Iowa office. It was like coming home for us because Staci grew up in Waverly and her parents still live there today.
In 2003, we welcomed Christian into our family. He keeps himself very busy between being on the drumline for Cedar Falls High School’s Marching and Pep bands, robotics and tech team at Prairie Lakes Church. In 2019, after serving for two-terms as the senior patrol leader (the youth leader of a Boy Scout Troop) for Troop 500 in Cedar Falls, he earned his Eagle rank. In the summer of 2019, Christian traveled to China and spent a very rewarding week working at Jonah’s orphanage. For Spring Break 2020, Christian will travel to Los Angeles with the Cedar Falls High School choir. Eventually, he’d love to get into a career working with lighting, sound production or possibly video editing. His biggest challenge is not trying to find areas that he’s interested in, but in trying to narrow down those interests.
In 2006, Anna was born and she quickly found an affinity for horses. In 2014, she was given a horse that she knew quite well by some very generous friends. Ever since then, she loves riding her horse Misty and often says, "a day is never wasted when spent in the saddle." She also loves to run and was the highest finisher for 7th and 8th grade girls from Cedar Falls at the 2018 State Cross Country meet in Ankeny. In 2019, she spent several days working with Dr. Jeff Young of Denver, Colorado from the TV show, “Dr. Jeff Rocky Mountain Vet” at his clinic helping with anything they’d give her. She hopes to intern there for a summer in high school. Her long-term goal is to attend Iowa State University and become a small-animal Veterinarian.
Just a year and nine days after Anna, Carson was born in 2007. While Christian is the very typical Type A first-born, Carson couldn't be more different. To say Carson is laid back would be an understatement. In spite of this, he always seems to land on his feet. Starting in 2018, Carson started playing baseball, but his true sports love is football. He played linebacker, wide receiver and on the special teams for Holmes Junior High School in Cedar Falls and loved every minute of it. In his spare time, he plays percussion for his school’s band. He, like his older brother, is also the Senior Patrol Leader for Troop 500 in Cedar Falls and plans on achieving his Eagle rank sometime in 2020. In the summer of 2020, Carson will go to Alaska with his Boy Scout troop for a week of adventure. Eventually, he hopes to attend the United States Military Academy at West Point.
Finally, our family took a wonderful and unexpected turn in 2015. Staci and I have supported an orphanage in China for several years. In February of 2015, she was asked to travel to the orphanage to see the tremendous work they are doing first hand. As a bucket-list item, she really wanted to go. I was in favor of her going, as long as it wasn't the precursor to adopting, only because I felt we had our hands plenty full with our three children. She agreed and off she went. To make a long story short and through some amazing miracles, God changed my heart in a way only He can. When she arrived home from her trip, I told her I thought we should adopt a boy she met while on the trip. Shortly thereafter, we were filling out paperwork and progressing toward expanding our family.
In May of 2016, all five of us flew to China for 17 days and finalized the adoption of our fourth child, Jonah. He was born with Spina Bifida, so he is paralyzed from his waist down, but that doesn't slow him down one bit. He has a personality many times the size of himself and is a tremendous blessing to our entire family. Jonah has never met anyone he doesn’t want to be friends with and has a way of lighting up any room that he enters. He loves to play wheelchair basketball for the Rolling Panthers and went with his team to Louisville, Kentucky in 2018 to play in the National Wheelchair Basketball Tournament where they finished in 12th place. He also plays sled hockey in Des Moines and is so grateful for the generous support raised for Miracle Park in Parkersburg where he plays baseball and Place to Play park in Cedar Falls.
Staci stayed home with our kids ever since Christian was born and she has enjoyed every minute of it. When our three biological children were all in school, she regularly volunteered there. She was in charge of the annual fundraiser at the children's school for several years, helps in each of their classrooms, is the past President of Anna's Pony Club and helped with the fundraising for Place to Play park. In addition to playing full-time chauffeur for our children, she also regularly collects medical supplies for Jonah’s orphanage in China.
In addition to my responsibilities at work, I volunteered in our kid's classrooms at school, served on the leadership for Carson's Cub Scout Pack, helped with Christian's robotics team, coached their athletic teams, gone on numerous campouts with Christian and Carson for Boy Scouts and served as the Vice-Chairman of the Trustees board at First Baptist Church (Prairie Lakes Church). I also spend a fair amount of time taking Anna to riding lessons and helping her grow in her love for horses. Jonah never wants to stay put, so he is usually closely in tow no matter where we go. Needless to say, we don't spend too much time sitting still, which is a great thing at this stage in life. I've always said that I make my best investments at home and I strive to do that every day.