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My Mentor

The original purpose of this post was to recognize the teachers and mentors which have helped shape me. I planned to write about how Mr. Cassidy, my high school drafting teacher, taught me the importance precision. I prepared to explain how Mr. Mercuri, my college computer science professor, ignited my desire to engineer software. But I could not. I knew deep down that one person in particular affected me more then the rest.

This person could fix anything and could even talk through a broken heart. He didn't know the internals of computers but the hacker spirit sweats from his veins. He taught me how to problem solve, many times in unconventional ways. I once watched him clear brush with an old snow plow and cut our work day in half. If he didn't have access to a tool, he would furnish one out of raw materials and spare parts, like a real life MacGyver. With a little bit of thought and ingenuity he built anything he imagined.

Sometimes he would use tough love to prove a point. For example, when I had a sun burn in middle school, he taught me to push through pain and not let my team down even though my jersey was scratching my raw skin. He showed me how to work hard and how to have great work ethic. He taught me the importance of "saving for a rainy day" but also knew how to have fun and loved parties. He taught me self control and how to make sacrifices for payouts in the future.

He taught me the fundamentals of kindness and guided me on the righteous path. He gave great advice, and even though I didn't always listen, he respected my thoughts and wishes. If he ever caused an accident he would always admit fault. He emits honor, honesty, and courage and never lies to or manipulates the people around him. Although we have had our differences, I think about you each day.

I love you. Thank you and happy father's day, dad.



© Russell Ballestrini.