A little bio
Who am I?
Hi there, I’m a farmer in Oronoko Township who lives and works with my wife and three sons (yes, they work too!). We moved to Berrien County five years ago to follow our dreams of the country and have enjoyed building an organic farm with livestock from the ground up. Before this life change I was a high school teacher in Chicago Public Schools for about a decade, helping to improve the communities and students I dedicated my life to. I’m inspired by Berrien County to serve it as well and lead the charge toward a bright future.
Well, if you moved onto the second paragraph, that means you want to know a little more about me. Thanks! I grew up in Illinois with my parents and sister, and also met my wife in high school, so I’ve grown up with her as well. My dad was a firefighter, paramedic, in the Coast Guard, and a small business owner. My mother was in nursing and worked with a non-profit organization that worked with people with special needs. My sister and her family live and work near the University of Chicago.
Schooling and Education
I followed my sister to Marquette University, not really sure about what to study, but knew I enjoyed reading. I took as many philosophy and English classes as I could, and triple majored in History of Philosophy, Social Philosophy, and English. More importantly, I had formative experiences outside the classroom volunteering with community education programs and working on apartments for a local landlord. These inspired my passions for education and working with my hands building and refinishing. Not at the same, but it’s good to have hobbies.
If you are still with me, you really are a champ. I wanted adventure and travel, so I moved to South Korea after graduation and became an ESL (English as a Second Language) teacher. Thankfully, my girlfriend at the time was very understanding and waited to meet up with me after a year of teaching, and we were able to travel a bit. Also thankfully, we made it through a crash course of a long distant relationship, traveling extensively through Asia, and then moving back to Chicago together to get married and raise a family.
Wife and I
Molly, my wife, is a trained chef and has worked for the same employer for the past twenty years. We were living on the South Side of Chicago, I was teaching, she was cooking, and wanted to rehab an old home together. We did that amidst starting a family and enjoyed working hard, fun projects together, and road trips during the summer. I obtained my Masters in Teaching and became a National Board Certified Teacher. Her employer wanted to start a farm in Southwest Michigan and asked us to partner with her. Despite our lack of knowledge and experience, we make up for it in perseverance and a love for diving into new things. This seems to be a good formula for new farmers, and we’ve done quite a bit to raise a variety of livestock and grow produce and flowers for our community.
Volunteering and Hobbies
There’s no way anyone is still reading this at this point, but I’ll throw in some more just in case you’ve got nowhere else to be right now. I’ve been farming and enjoying the time I have with my boys, volunteering at their schools and in 4-H, for the past few years. The pandemic has taught me that while it’s easy to turn in and do right by the closest people around you, once you have that, it would be much better to serve the greater community. And though I knew this lesson as a teacher, and I feel that I am doing it through farming in some way, I would like to be a direct influence on the improvement of Berrien County as a whole.
We Can Do This
It can get frustrating living in a 24 hour news cycle where so much doom and gloom can rise to the top of what is happening in this world. Although there are good things going on, there are also many injustices swept under the rug and sometimes only the headlines are partially remembered. I believe I can be an agent of change for Berrien, and make sure the important issues get solved, especially in Berrien Springs and Baroda. Thank you for taking the time to read my bio and thoughts, and I hope we can meet and you’ll support me for the 8th District County Commissioner.