I was thirteen years old when I watched my father die. It was not the normal bedside goodbye, but rather an endless year in which I watched cander bring my hero to his knees, Located in a sparsely populated valley in southern Nevada, we had been christened the Downwind People by the media, and I was quick to point an accusing finger at the nearby Atomic Test Site. Exploited and violated by a lack of resistance, the disregard that I felt would continue to influence my life.
Now with my father gone and as the eldest child in a family of six, I suddenly found myself in charge of a 500 cow-calf operation covering over 22 square miles of farm and rangeland. For five years my family and I struggled to hold our ranch together. The agricultural crunch of the early eighties precipitated by skyrocketing interest rates left us with a ranch one-third the size of our original holdings; and me with the feelings of frustration and failure.
These two boyhood events were to create the circumstances from which I viewed and faced life. Reacting to the feelings of violation and failure, I vowed that never again would I allow others to outside events to control my happiness. From my father’s untimely death came the promise to enjoy the life that I had been given. My first step was to get away and experience life outside the narrow confines of my valley. Five days after my high school graduation I departed on a low budget journey to see the world. Spending the majority of my time as a laborer on a vegetable farm in Germany ad as a sheep shearer in the outback of Australia, I passed thirteen months circling the globe learning how little I really knew about myself and the world in which I lived. One concrete truth that I did realize in this period was how truly fortunate I was to live in America’s democratic society, where one had the opportunity to travel and to change one’s life for the better. I also discovered that exploitation and violation exist in all societies, and that others had lived through difficulties much worse than my own. My greatest surprise came from viewing many of the world’s war memorials and seeing at first hand how many lives had been given to further the democratic principle of equality and justice. This trip was a turning point in my life, transforming feelings of disregard and frustration into appreciation and hope. My sense of failure was reversed and changed into dreams of self-redemption. I now realized that I wanted to be involved in working toward the ideal of equality.
Driven by the past and newly armed for the future, my second step was to attend college. With a limited secondary education, I used football as a medium and worked my way through California and Nevada’s community college systems, eventually transferring to the University of Pennsylvania. Reminded by the failure of my own farm, I took advantage of opportunities afforded me at the Wharton Business School. Following school, I started work in a large mid-town Manhattan accounting firm in the hope of gaining a comprehensive understanding of business. However I soon switched to a sole-proprietorship where I had more responsibility as well as the opportunity to be extensively involved in probate and tax accounting.
Although pragmatic in approach, I have always adhered to my personal hope of enjoying life. Throughout school and my career I have continued to develop and utilize the two loves of my life: athletics and music. Both are a source of pleasure as well as a vehicle to interact and communicate with other people. I have enclosed a demo recording of several songs that I have written, in the belief that these songs present another important side to my life. Additionally, I have continued to travel, including a four-month journey through Mexico and Central America.
My rural background and extensive travels have provided me with an objective perspective that I believe will be of great advantage in my future endeavors. The turmoil in my past has given me the sensitivity to relate to the pain and misfortune of other people as well as the desire to help them. I love life and want to be involved in making it better.
I want to make the dream if equality more available to others. Tempered by three years of work experience, I have developed the confidence and patience necessary to accomplish these goals. Law school is the next step in pursuing my dream. With proper guidance and direction that law school provides, I feel that I can make a difference.