“Work Hard and Do Right”

As someone who grew up poor, I’m grateful that I am a small business owner and I have been able to create jobs and opportunity for others across Mississippi.

I struggled throughout school and even spent a year in Special Ed. One teacher, Mr. Ed, taught me science and was determined to find the pearl inside this hard, rough shell. He had faith in me and cared. It showed and it worked.

We called our grandparents Moose & Poose. My grandfather, Poose, was the most important person in my life—he and Moose were married for 72 years. They entered the Great Depression with a mule and 10 acres of land. The mule died and the dustbowl killed their first and only crop. He then worked his rest of his life for the city sewer department, and dug sewer ditches by hand. He was most proud of holding the state record for hand-digging the most feet of sewer ditch in one day. He proudly and often told me: If you don’t do anything else, son: “Work Hard and do right.” That’s the best education and life lesson I ever got.

A Mission of Lifelong Learning

For starters, as a young paper-boy on a bicycle route, I was constantly chased by dogs, but still had a job to do if I wanted to get paid. From that, I learned to be fearless.

As a janitor in the local mall, I learned to appreciate and respect every single person I encounter, particularly those who can do nothing for me.

As a Vo-Tech student in my junior and senior years of high school, with absolutely no intention of going to college, I learned to draw and build houses, and never underestimate the potential of any student.

As a truck driver in the oilfield, I learned that no one can do everything on their own, and that the size and distribution of load is always important.

As a store clerk, bag-boy, and bus-boy, I learned that it’s the simple things that count.

As a waiter, I learned to multi-task and relate to people from all walks of life.

As a young Army soldier, I learned Order, Pride and Respect for our great nation. I also learned to respect our commander in chief and office of the presidency, regardless of whether I agreed with every decision. And it’s where I went from a poor kid who didn’t like school to a man on a mission of lifetime learning.

As a college intern at a Mental Health & Addiction Center I learned that mental illness and addiction are NOT just choices, and they impact entire families and communities. I also learned that treatment is critical and definitely helps.

As a law student, I learned to understand and respect our constitution and our form of democracy.

As a Businessman, Real Estate Attorney, Alderman, Husband and Father, I learned that no one is ever 100% right, and that compromise and respect are how most conflicts are best resolved.