Someone that I believe has leadership abilities and is a strong leader is my grandfather, retire Florida Highway Patrolman Walter Kenneth Harsey. He served our great state for 33 years, until he was forced to retired due to his age. To this day he is one of the most respected Highway Patrolmen. He is most commonly known as "The Legend" within the Highway Patrol community, but to me he's "Nandaddy."
I remember growing up, I couldn't go or do anything without someone telling me, "What would your granddaddy think of you being here or being out this late?" I couldn't do anything without it getting back to him, before I could get back to the house. I absolutely hated it. I wasn't a problem child by no means, but I was definitely watched over by anyone wearing a law enforcement uniform. I actually had the Sheriff pull up in a crowd full of teenagers and out of all of these kids, he looks right at me and says, "You just remember pretty is as pretty does." That was the Sheriff's way of telling me to get my behind to the house. I was so embarrassed. My constant being watched over wasn't attractive to any potential boyfriends, not to mention that my grandfather is not a little man. My grandfather commands respect out of everyone. I'm not real sure how he does it, besides the fact that when he told you something he means it. He is a man of his word, if he says he's going to do something he's going to do it.
My biological father wasn't a part of my life growing up, so my grandfather stepped in and filled those shoes. I changed my last name when I was 14 years old to his last name, because he is my dad to me. I am so grateful to have him in my life. He was tough on me and pushed me when I didn't think I could be pushed any harder. I was diagnosed with dyslexia when I was in elementary school. I had a really hard time reading. He never let me use that as an excuse. Everyday after school he would make me sit there and read hooked on phonics for hours. This went on until I finished the whole thing of hooked on phonics. I hated it at the time, but I'm so grateful now that I'm older. He has always placed a great value on having an education. He has always said, "That people can take everything you have away from you, but they can't take away your knowledge and ability to rebuild yourself. In order to do that, you must have an education."
My grandfather has taught me everything I know. He taught me to read, to defend myself, to hunt, to fish, and to be a good person. Respect is very important to him and you are only has good as your word. When you say you're going to do something, you better do it and mean it. My grandfather lived by that simple motto his whole life, even in his career as a tough Highway Patrolman. When he tells you that he's going to do something, he's going to do it.
To some everything up, I could go on and on all day about my grandfather. A 300 to 500 word essay just isn't enough to tell you what a wonderful man my grandfather is. He is my very own version of "Walking Tall." I am proud of who I am and who I've become, because of all the life lessons he has taught me. I am stronger, smarter, wiser, and a all around better human being because of him.