My husband Ron passed his final exams to receive his helicopter certified flight instructor license this afternoon.
It’s been a long time coming. In late 2005, our dear friend Mike Welch, who had survived life as a police officer in south L.A., as a Marine, and as a security guard for U.S. contractors in the Balkans and in Iraq, returned home to the U.S. to finally enjoy the quiet life — and died of a heart attack only weeks after arriving. He was 48 years old.
Ron, who had loved Mike as a brother, was heartbroken. And we both realized how short life can be.
Ron was in the middle of working a desk job he hated, in order to help support the family. I had just left my Fortune 500 job to start my own business and spend more time with my kids. While Ron worked hard and was very successful at work, I could see the spirit draining out of him every day he returned home after dark, tired and more frustrated than the night before.
And then Mike died.
And we decided that Ron needed to pursue the one dream he’d held in his heart since he was 8 years old — to fly helicopters.
It wasn’t going to be easy. Our research suggested it would take nearly two years, full-time, and cost more money than we had any chance of saving up. People thought we were crazy, and said so.
But we did it anyway, thanks to a home equity loan, Sallie Mae, and some very supportive families behind us.
And then the recession hit. And I was laid off. And his school became more and more strapped and time with instructors became harder and harder to come by. Nearly four years later and he was still “almost done”.
Finally, he left for Texas to work with a school that could get him through his program. We anticipated he might be gone for a month or more.
And now, he’s done.
Of course, he still hopes to find work as an instructor. And we’re hoping it won’t require him to leave us for long stretches at a time to work in another state.
But he’s done. And he’s happy. And despite the ups and downs, the stress and frustrations, nearly 20 years after our wedding we’re still going strong.
I know people think we’re crazy to have done this. I know people think I’m nuts to be building my own business again, when my husband’s unemployed.
But I don’t care. We believed. Continue to believe. It can happen.
It can happen for you, too.
this is beyond inspiring.
So sweet and congrats to both of you! You two give inspiration in more ways then can be counted!
Matthew Petro says
AMEN! Big huge props to both of you for doing what made you happy, no matter how crazy it seemed!
That is so cool and amazing. I wish I had a helicopter to fly to work everyday.
Wendy Coneybeer says
Life is way to short to not pursue your dreams, and I learned this at a very early age. My grandfather, for as long as I could remember when I was little, always spoke of his dream of retiring from his job that he had worked for 30 years and moving from NY to a cabin in the middle of the Smokey Mountains in Tennessee. At age 54, the year before he was to retire, some issues developed and his doctors discovered a malignant brain tumor. Over the next year he endured two unsuccessful surgeries and ended up passing away at retirement age, never able to realize his dream he planned to make a reality that year. That had a profound effect on my life in more ways than one, but I’m sure it definitely factors into the choices that I make for myself, such as the decision that Chris & I made to move to Phoenix.
I’m so proud & happy, of and for both of you! Him, for hanging in there and accomplishing his goal;, you, for sticking by him and making the sacrifices necessary for him to make this happen; and both of you for supporting each other in your dreams & happiness! That is truly what life should be about.
Bobby Borszich says
one simple word … “Passion”
follow it with all your might!
Jana Knapp says
I got all verklempt reading this. Such a good story. Scary at times I’m sure, but inspiring. I’m so proud to call you both my friends.
Ron Baier says
This has been an amazing roller coaster ride these last few years! However; it would not have been possible to accomplish w/o the love and support of my amazing family and wonderful dear friends!
This has probably been one of the most amazing experiences of my life. Numerous ups and downs along the way for various reasons as you’ve read. But through our tremendous support networks that we are blessed with, we have made it through the turmoil and now on to working on that 1st job and new challenges w/in this industry.
The group at Longhorn Helicopters here in TX really showed me how good a flight school can be. Very professional at all levels. Mgmt, instructors & equipment. I just hope I’m fortunate enough to land a gig with a group as dedicated as them.
Finally I want to send out a big thank you and ‘I love you’ to Susan, who thru think and thin, new schools, new instructors, being broke, stuck it out and was one of my driving factors that kept me going when I thought all hope was lost! With out her support, this would not be possible. Tout Mon Amour!
Thanks all for your kind notes today! I hope I responded to you all but if I missed one or two, Thanks again for your kind words.
See you all in a few days!