What's Your passion?My mother worked hard and often to raise my sister and me by herself. So when I turned 15 and found myself needing money, I knew from watching my mother that I needed to work for it.
At that age I could not legally collect a paycheck, but Mom found me a job anyway; a job that would end up paying in more ways than I could have imagined.
I started working for a man that would change my life forever. Cal Grotewold was an older gentleman that needed help around his large home and acreage. I did various chores such as painting, tree trimming and mowing the lawn with his sit down mower.
On one of those days over on Silverette Avenue during my lunch break, I was admiring all of his family photos that were lined up along the mantle of his fireplace. I noticed that one of the many pictures was not of a person but of an airplane.
"A picture of an airplane in amongst photos of his children?" I thought. An observation that would lead to a question and a life changing experience that I will never forget for the rest of my life.
My simple question was, "Cal, what's this picture of this airplane?", to which he answered, "Oh that's one of my other babies".
I was instantly intrigued and asked him question after question! He told me that he owned that airplane. It was in a hangar at the local airport and he used it for business trips.
After exhausting him with questions about airplanes, he finally asked me if I wanted to go flying with him. I excitedly said, "YES!". He told me that he would be flying to San Jose, California on a business trip in a few days and that I could be his "Co-pilot" if I would like, but I had to ask my mother if it was okay.
Well, after much convincing, she agreed that I could go with him. I was so excited the night before the trip I didn't sleep much.
The next morning, we arrived at the small airport. He fired up the small twin engine Piper Seneca and down the runway we went! To this day, 25 years later, I can still see the image of my mother looking up at us and waving as we lifted off. That image has made me smile a hundred times and will forever.
I am so happy that I was able to share part of that day with my mother... the day I found my absolute passion in life... flying. That is the day that I discovered what I wanted to do for the rest of my life.
Soon thereafter, I started pilot school at the local airport, attending on the weekends because I was still in high school. Less than a year later, at the age of 16, I earned my Private Pilots license. After that, I earned an Aviation Science Degree, continued pilot school, got an Instrument rating and Commercial Pilots license.
Most recently, I have been flying skydivers at various drop zones all over the country as a contract pilot. I still find it hard to believe that I get paid to throw people out of "perfectly good airplanes". Life is good!
I truly believe that everyone is born with a passion for something in life, it's just that they do not all find it. If you have not found your passion in life, your goal should be to go out and find it.
I was blessed to have found mine early in life and now I help people find theirs, if they haven't already.
What small or large moment in your life has shown you this world is still a great place? Click 'submit a story' at the top right of this web page to share with agreatplace.ca.