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A Father’s Advice
By Brian J. Wagner
NAPS Immediate Past President
Nine years ago this month, my father died unexpectantly. He never earned a college degree; his education and wisdom came from life experiences. He served in Korea, worked hard providing for his family, played the lottery and enjoyed retirement.
I think of him often. I miss our talks about him winning the lottery, St. Louis Cardinals baseball and his fatherly advice. There is one piece of advice that always has stuck with me. Here’s the scoop.
I remember my father telling me a company can take away your job, a bank your home and the government your money through more taxes. However, there is one piece of fatherly advice I always will remember: “Get an education because no one ever can take that away from you.”
As I referenced earlier, my father, in fact, my mother, too, never earned college degrees. My parents were raised in the Great Depression; during their 60-year marriage, they raised six kids. They both worked years on years at the same jobs and, at times, second jobs, to provide for our family, which always included ice cream in the freezer. I am serious.
Growing up, I knew and fully understood that my parents didn’t have the financial resources to send one child, let alone six children, to college. If they had the financial means, they would have provided what they could. However, what my parents provided were encouragement and emotional support. That was just as valuable and priceless as any financial support.
College may not be for everyone, but everyone should have a right to attend if they desire. There may be limited finances available to help one achieve a college education, but no one ever should be limited in receiving that education. I believed in my father’s educational advice and he was right.
By the grace of God, I was fortunate to have a full-time job at the Postal Service to finance night classes to earn a college degree—actually, three: an associate, bachelor’s and master’s. Plus, I earned a certificate in financial planning. Thanks to my father’s advice, I got an education that no one ever can take away from me.
Ralph Waldo Emerson said, “Success comes from within, not from without.” You don’t have to go without if you have the desire, passion and strong work ethic to achieve a goal. Never underestimate a person with a goal to accomplish something, especially if that goal involves an education—college or otherwise. However, without sufficient financial support, an education may not be within reach for many.
Thankfully, never underestimate the NAPS organization when it comes to education. Through the generosity of NAPS Headquarters and its members, a child or grandchild of an active or associate member has the opportunity to earn a NAPS educational scholarship. Actually, there are two scholarship opportunities.
First are the $1,000 Vince Palladino Memorial Student Scholarships. Second are the $500 Louis M. Atkins Presidential Scholarships. These scholarships are excellent opportunities for the children and grandchildren of NAPS members to potentially receive financial support in their quest for a college education no one ever can take away from them.
Please read about these two wonderful NAPS national scholarships and application deadlines in current and future issues of The Postal Supervisor or on the NAPS website (click here). I know many NAPS branches also provide wonderful scholarship opportunities to their members’ children and grandchildren.
Check with your respective NAPS branch to see if there are scholarship opportunities. If not, encourage your branch to start a scholarship program to further educate the future leaders of our country—our children, grandchildren and, possibly, great-grandchildren.
In memory of my father, it was a heavenly honor to share his educational advice. I hope you will share it with your children and grandchildren, as I did with mine. And in the spirit of education, I hope you will educate yourself with my ice-cream-flavor-of-the-month recommendation: heavenly hash.