Harold. Butch. Bear. Those are the three names our father is famously known as by his family, friends, trucking buddies, and community. To us he was Daddy. When he graduated high school in the late 60's, Daddy felt he had very few options as a Black man in the South. Like many others, he saw the military as a way to a better life. He served in the United States Marine Corp in Vietnam where his staunch dedication and bravery earned him a Purple Heart. Daddy returned to Black Mountain where he married our mother and became a truck driver, mostly with ABF.
Our Mom, Kathy, was raised in Swannanoa, North Carolina by her mother, Frances, and maternal grandparents. A shy kid, Mom was always a curious learner who, later as an adult, made learning a passion that she shared with her own kids and kids in our community.
Although Mom received a scholarship to Western Carolina University, a four-year university, this endeavor proved too difficult a challenge for her and her family. She had never been away from home on her own and did not have the tools and support needed to navigate the college experience. So she returned home and set out on another path to make a way for herself. She earned her associates' degree in accounting from a local community college and became the first Black employee at a local bank in our hometown.