My dad was a relatively quiet man, completely sold out to providing and caring for his wife and four children at all costs, and was good at it. He led by his actions, both at home, or throughout his community where his work took him. He was proud of his rare and self-taught skill as the best safe cracker in the State of Michigan. I remember as a little boy, waiting for another opportunity to listen intently for another amazing story of a successful, 14-hour, technical surgery, if you will, on a giant bank vault with the elusive “click” of the lock mechanism, opening the vault door to the cheers of very happy bank staff and managers looking on, probably more interested in their side bets, than what Dad actually accomplished.

Dad was a humble man, and didn’t share much of the powerful “words of wisdom” that every little boy waits for with anticipation, so when he felt it was time to share, believe me, my entire soul opened up, ready to absorb every wise word.

“Be a better person tomorrow, than you were today son”, was spoken to me when I headed to Alaska and eventually settled in Newport in 1981. I have always tried daily to live up to my dad’s challenge, but have failed many times. In particular, rushing to conclusions and choosing sides regarding peculiar actions or choices of people and friends I know, only to find myself apologizing and making amends when the truth and intentions were revealed.

So friends, be a better person tomorrow than you are today, and remember, there is always two sides to every story…

Mark Watkins - Newport

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