Dear Lake Forest and Lake Bluff,
First and foremost, thank you for supporting students through your involvement with Parents Care.
I cannot tell you how much it means to me to see so many of my neighbors support an organization that, at its heart, is about serving our children.
Parents Care embodies my belief that we are all called to serve, a lesson I learned while serving in the United States Marine Corps.
When I first joined the Marine Corps, I knew I wanted to serve my country, but it was not until I left as a Veteran that I truly understood the value of service and its power to transform not only the lives of those we serve but ours as well.
These ethics are embodied in our motto, "Semper Fidelis" (Always Faithful).
After serving for six and a half years on active duty, commanding Tank, Infantry, and Fleet Anti-Terrorist Security Force Units, I knew I wanted to continue devoting my life to serving others.
This was one of the most significant personal insights I acquired as a United States Marine.
Following many years of serving my country, I went on to serve the National Board of the Marine Corps Law Enforcement Foundation (which is committed to providing support and scholarships for the families of fallen Marines) and the Finance Chair of the Friends of the Israel Parasport Center, which serves young people with disabilities all over Israel and the region.
In addition to personally providing scholarships to the orphans of fallen IDF members, I began to accentuate my interest in education through my support and board membership in the Israel Arts and Science Academy in Jerusalem, which brings together a highly diverse set of the very best high school students across the entire region.
The IASA is now a world-recognized leader and pioneering force in innovative teaching, having trained tens of thousands of teachers worldwide.
During this period, I was also privileged to serve five years as a Trustee on the Board of Lake Forest Country Day School.
In early 2015, I was provided the opportunity to serve my home state further when I was named by Gov. Bruce Rauner (and confirmed by the Illinois Senate) to chair a Statewide regulatory agency, the Illinois Racing Board.
I oversaw an eleven-person body responsible for all regulations in this industry.
In reflection, I am forever grateful to have been able to provide five years of service to all my fellow Illinoisans.
While I have been blessed to wear many titles in my years of service- be it Marine Captain or Illinois Racing Board Chairman - I hold no title dearer than the one I'll always have: "Father."
God has blessed me with six children, and each is a miracle in their own way.
I try to teach my kids that this world must be a better place for them, having walked it, and that's what Parents Care is about: an undying effort to improve our schools for EVERY child.
In every student, one way or another, I see one of my six children, and I cannot be content with anything but the very best of all involved in their education.
Too often, for a myriad of reasons, this is not happening.
Although creating meaningful and lasting change in the public school systems for the benefit of all our children is challenging, I remain as optimistic as ever. Compared with my service to my country, my State, or any other cause, my dedication to this has no equal, and I have no doubts that, in their hearts, our entire community is on our side in doing all we can for our children.
Parents Care's mission may be the hardest I have faced, but we are here to stay and are just getting started.
Thank you for joining us to serve and advocate for this wonderful community's beautiful children. Together, we can change lives and leave a lasting impact that will serve as a model for communities nationwide.
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