In the picture above, you can see me sitting in the front wearing a plaid shirt and Patty sitting right behind me with a big smile. We were first loves in 4th Grade. As you can see, I had hair back then, and Patty is just as pretty as ever. I am not sure what was on my mind then, other than I wanted to sit next to her. Obviously, I was not a happy camper, but I was wearing plaid! Who knew that almost 70 years later, it would become my favorite pattern (Caregivers Wear Plaid).
As kids went to ballroom dancing classes together and other social events, but then my family moved away, and I did not see Patty until high school, when our romance blossomed again. In hindsight, I now know that Patty had lupus when she was eighteen, but she was not diagnosed until she was 26. Our romance did not last through our junior year, and neither of us can remember why we broke up.
Fast forward 40 years. Each of us had grown children, and we found ourselves back together again. Now in our late 70’s, we continue to find time to give back. Caregivers Wear Plaid has been a challenge to write but has given me a new vision/mission to help others in similar situations learn from what we have experienced over the years. As once said, “to grow is to progress, and to progress is to change.” Both Patty and I are excited to meet new friends through Caregivers Wear Plaid and hopefully make a difference in others’ lives.
Since COVID, life around our house has changed significantly, and Patty’s declining health has been a challenge too. Being her caregiver/advocate takes more time and attention away from what I like to do, but that is insignificant regarding her needs. We both hope you learn a lot from Caregivers Wear Plaid that you can mirror into positive actions in this journey.
Patty has always had the heart to help others. She was a Court Appointed Special Advocate (CASA) advocating for abused or neglected children ensuring they were raised in a safe and healthy home environment. You may also know these exceptional people as Guardians Ad Litem. She also was very much involved in keeping the home front warm during Desert Storm being an advocate for women whose husbands had gone off to war. And of course, her time with the lupus foundation of America’s North Carolina Chapter as board chair (2007-2009) was a continuation of her involvement in helping others. Beyond that, she is a homemaker extraordinaire and the love of my life.
I have had many career opportunities. I have worked in Japan, owned several businesses, and then worked for First Union Corporation (now Wells Fargo) and Bank of America (BAC). My expertise was in developing training programs, most recently designing and implementing the Enterprise Information Security Awareness Program for BAC.
In 1998 I was recognized as Volunteer of the Year at First Union Corporation for my work with a child development center for at-risk children. As a center board member, I was recognized by Charlotte Jaycees for outstanding contributions. I served on the board of directors of the LFANC for six years and as board chair from (2013 – 2015).
Today, my company, Stealth Awareness, Inc., has entered its 15th year in business, serving the legal community. We are excited that Caregivers Wear Plaid has helped others, and we look forward to it evolving as time goes by.