Ron

I wrote a guest blog in 2013 and wanted to share it again.  The blogger (Joy DeKok – https://joydekok.com/ ) was doing a series of guest articles about people the author admires.  Hope you enjoy.

THE MAN I HOPE TO BECOME

I was homeschooled for all but two of my school years. When I was 13, I started working with my dad laying laminate, vinyl and carpet floors in the mornings, and do my school work in the late afternoon after we had finished our job.  For years and years before my brothers or I started working with my dad, my dad had a partner that helped him lay floor.  His name was Alex, and until he retired, he was my dad’s help every day.  I’ll get into more about him later.

I worked with my dad for just over two years, and they were two years that formed my future in the workforce.  Ron Reinalda was the key behind the shape of my work ethic.  I was a lazy, weak and (self admitted) annoying child, and working with him changed me forever.  (I’ll let you guess what 2 of those 3 things changed.)  He taught me responsibility, customer service and integrity among many other things, technical and social.  We wouldn’t get a drop of water until at least one room of the job was finished.  Some might say that was bad, but it made us extremely efficient.  We would sweat through our clothes on a daily basis.  I went from being a lazy, cry baby to someone that excels in every aspect of a workplace.  The tough love that my dad (and mom) showed me when I was growing up is the sole reason I am successful today.

During those years, I observed my dad in many different situations, simple and complex.  The way he dealt with errors from the carpet mill or mistakes that he made (which were rare, this guy was really good at what he did), he was always calm and collected, as he took responsibility and often times, outsmarted the problem.  He could come up with a solution to anything.  We had our rough patches, we argued and he always won (whether I wanted to admit it or not).  He taught me how to have my own opinion and vocalize it, but to yield to my boss, and ultimately do what he says.  My dad was and is today, a symbol of strength in my life.  I can’t picture a problem he can’t solve, or a project he can’t accomplish.  I think my brothers tease him about being a “softy” because he taught them so well that they, themselves are some of the strongest men I know, mentally and physically.  Plus, he knows how to care about people, and as he gets older, he is less afraid to express his love for us.  I think I can speak for all three of us kids in saying, what good came out of us, came from the foundation that our parents built for us.

I cannot stress enough, working with Ron Reinalda was one of the single biggest blessings in my life.  We weren’t always having conversations about God while we were busy working, but the life he was living, the expertise, the care and consideration with which he took every step, made people notice that he was different, including me.  The other installers early in the morning as we would pick up our product, would tease him about never going drinking with them.  They knew his standards.  They knew who he was and what he stood for.  They respected him, and what he believes.  They would ask him for advice and go to him with questions.

Well, one day after we finished a job, my dad was quieter than usual.  I was young, but I could tell something was off.  He told me that he had just heard that his old partner, Alex, had been diagnosed with bone cancer, and that he was told he wouldn’t live much longer.  My dad was so sad.  He told me he felt guilty, as they had talked many times about Jesus, but Alex was so turned off to religion that he would ask to change the subject.  Well before I knew it, the van made a U-turn and we headed to the opposite side of town from where we were.  We pulled up in front of a yellow house and my dad turned to me and said, “Pray for me, pray for Alex, and stay in the van.”  He got out of the van and spotted Alex in his backyard, working on a project.  I prayed for what felt like 30 minutes and only opened my eyes when my dad got back into the truck.  As we pulled away he had a big smile on his face, he looked at me and said, “Alex just asked Jesus to come into his heart.”  This struck me right between my lungs.  I didn’t know what my dad’s purpose was for the visit, and it all came together as we drove home.  This success was unlike any other I had felt.  I started to realize the miracle that I had just witnessed.

Not more than a couple weeks later, my dad found out that Alex had passed away.  He told me the news and instead of sadness, I hugged him and as tears came we smiled.  We both knew exactly where Alex was.  He wasn’t in pain anymore.  Thanks to a humble, hard working floor installer that cared too much to remain silent, he was with the Father.

If I can model my life after someone successfully, I want it to be Ron Reinalda.  He makes mistakes, but he takes responsibility.  He is a great son to his parents, brother to his siblings, father to his children and grandfather to his grandkids.  He never spends a day thinking about himself.

My memory is of my dad, Ron Reinalda, with the weight of a lost soul on his shoulders, as he stepped out of his silver van, and onto the mission field that day, just like every other.  That is the kind of man I hope to become.

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