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"Strong Men" Stories

"I wanted to write something for them; admiration for the hard working man." 

- Bree Morgan

Below you'll find love for the hard working man, submitted by the people that love them.

To My Strong Men

By Bree Morgan

To my dad Scott, for showing me that hard work and passion can get you far, and that having a big heart isn't a bad thing. Tears are ok, and loving hard is important.

 

To my step dad Ger, thank you for showing me what unconditional love can be, by loving me as one of your own daughters and my sisters as well. A step parent is no easy feat, and you’ve never shown it as being a “step parent”, just our parent. 

 

To my Papa, for living life to the fullest, following his passions, helping to raise his grandchildren without a second thought, and always having the best stories to tell.

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Jon Gordon

Written by Hannah Ness

 

Hanging on the walls of Jon Gordon’s office are crayon and colored pencil character drawings. It’s ironic the way the realistic, yet eyeless, The Office character Dwight Schrute demands your eyes’ attention.

Grace, Gordon’s daughter, drew them. Her artistic style originated from making hotel door decorations on a family Disney World trip.

“She was having a hard time drawing eyes on Tinker Bell, so she just left them out,” Gordon said.

Grace continued the artistic style. A character in the same style fills the Facebook page banner for Grace’s Gifts, a charity in Grace’s memory.

Gordon started the charity after Grace’s passing. His charity work goes back as far as 15 years.

After spending one Christmas by himself, Gordon decided it would never happen again. He reached out to local kitchens serving meals to the homeless and began helping organize meals.

Gordon has managed Echo of Janesville Christmas and Salvation Army Thanksgiving kitchens since 2008.

Gordon also has a DJ business with his co-worker. Since 2010, Saber DJ Services provides music for weddings, dinners and large events.

In 2015, Gordon decided to combine his passions for music and philanthropic work with Inclusive Charity DJ Network. The nonprofit and registered 501c3 works year-round to donate DJ services for local causes.

Events they serve include daddy daughter and mommy son dances, cancer benefits and costume balls. The charity aims to use music to help their local community and allow DJ costs to be put towards the organization.

In 2016, Gordon wanted to host an adult prom to celebrate his 40th birthday. What started as an event for 50 of his friends grew rapidly on Facebook and by word of mouth. 700 tickets sold out in only two weeks.

“One night I walked into my favorite bar and said ‘Watch this,’“ Gordon said.

Gordon knew there were people desperate for tickets and felt bad, so he tried to free some up. He put two tickets on the bar and took a picture. He posted on Facebook where the tickets were. The first to claim them took ownership.

“The phone rang 10 seconds later and they were gone in five minutes,” Gordon said.

The first prom was a success. Proceeds went to a local charity. Gordon organized proms for two following years, one including a rotating stage.

Continuing his philanthropic endeavors, Gordon, an experienced canoer, and another leader took their scout troop on a one-day canoe trip in May 2019. Among the troop were his 15-year-old twins, both Scouts, Grace and Mason. Despite the group following every safety measure, Grace was pinned underwater beneath one of many fallen trees while maneuvering a turn in

the river. There was nothing Gordon, Mason or the five other scouts could do. Rescue crews arrived but were unsuccessful in saving Grace.

Grace’s passing sparked a change in the Inclusive Charity DJ Network. Gordon reflected on what mattered most to Grace.

 

As Grace and Mason grew up, Gordon did everything he could to give them experiences they would remember forever. The single dad took them camping, on trips to Disney World, Texas, Europe, cultural events, plays, concerts and enrolled them in dance classes and scouts.

Five weeks after Grace passed, Gordon, Mason and her stepmom attended The Killers in concert. The Killers were Grace’s favorite band and Grace was meant to join them. “On the way home, we started talking about the other kids,” Gordon said, referring to the kids who witnessed the accident in the river. A new initiative was born in the Inclusive Charity DJ Network. Grace’s Gifts gives children and families affected by trauma, like the five scouts in the river with Grace, the opportunity to have the same experiences that made her life colorful.

“We now give kids who endured trauma of some kind these experiences,” Gordon said. Grace’s Gifts memorialize Grace in many ways. Concert tickets were given to a family who lost a daughter. Christmases were gifted to families of children who have endured trauma.

Multiple children were enrolled in dance studios, Girl Scouts and Boy Scouts with uniforms and supplies. Tickets to Great America and Mt. Olympus water park were given to families in need.

The charity aims to be sustainable so children can remain enrolled in the programs they were first entered into by Grace’s Gifts. They raise money through meat raffles, collecting donations while hosting karaoke, fundraising nights at Culver’s and local pizza joints.

 

While there’s usually a financial need in the families, it’s not always the case. One child with a dad fighting cancer was given tickets to a Milwaukee Bucks basketball game, parking pass included. Even though they could afford it, the family’s attention wasn’t on fun excursions.

“They’re probably not thinking about that kind of stuff at the time and could use a break,” Gordon said. “A teacher asked one kid, ‘What would you like to do more than anything in the world?’ and he said, ‘I want to see a Ferris wheel,’” Gordon said.

Grace’s Gifts sent him four season passes to Great America, including parking, one quick service meal per visit and a photo package.

Gordon estimates close to $15,000 has been gifted to southeastern Wisconsin children and families in the form of memorable experiences. Some families remain anonymous. Grace’s Gifts

also works directly with the Inclusive DJ Charity Network to provide DJ services in-kind donations.

Grace’s Gifts’ next major event is Snazzfest, an indoor and outdoor music festival. To honor Grace, the event is named after her favorite word: snazzy. The festival includes two stages featuring 11 bands, a softball tournament, food trucks and large ticket item raffles. Gordon’s asked the bands performing to learn The Killers’ songs. All proceeds go to Grace’s Gifts. Snazzfest is June 10, 2023.

To prepare to advertise for the event, Gordon gathered videos of Grace saying snazzy from her friends. One video shows Grace excitedly talking about new tennis shoes. “They’re super sister snazzy,” she says while smiling and her friends giggle behind the camera.

Grace’s fun-loving energy can be felt not only through the video but through the experiences many kids have in her memory.

Scott

From Olivia:

The strong man in my life is my dad. He is always there for me and my sisters and pushes us to do our best. He has taught me how to fish, farm, and fix my car. He loves his family unconditionally and always does whatever he can to support us. My strong dad has formed me into the strong woman I am today and I am forever grateful.

 

I love you Dad!

 

From Danielle:

I see my dad as a strong man not only because of the love he has for his family, but also because of his love he has for agriculture. My dad has been working on family farms since he was a kid. As we were being raised up, my dad made sure that me and my sisters were involved with AG as much as possible. He put in countless endless days, and late nights. He drove many miles in serval different pieces of equipment, and never really had time for himself. He never complained though, because he was doing something he loved. My dad gave me my love for AG, and taught me how vital our role is to feed everyone in our nation. My dad is a sting man because of his dedication to not only his family but feeding our nation.

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Michael Louis

Fought from February of 2000

Passed June 29, 2022

30 years old.

My soul mate. 

Man I never wanted to cheat on.

Man who always loved me.

My family adored him.

Service technician, (mechanic)

Lots of dirt under his nails and grease on his hands.

Could re-build an engine so well and fast.

All would stop to watch.

One of the Strong Men

 

Love Annette

Zach

I want to give a shout out to my strong man! My best friend, my whole world, my everything, my husband! He is one of the hardest working, loving, most kind hearted humans I have ever met! And anyone  that knows him would say the same! He works all day everyday and comes home and doesn’t sit down, he keeps working! He is either always working at home, or someone in town is calling asking him for a favor, maybe his relatives are calling needing , something done, etc.. whatever it may be, you will see him from sun up to sun down doing something! And he usually never says no to someone unless his wife or kid is involved! I don’t feel like he gets acknowledged enough for the hardworking, loving, amazing man that he truly is! So I just wanted to dedicate your song, “Strong Men”, to him and let him know how truly appreciated he is! 

 

Love your wife, Ashley

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Rocco

My dad Rocco Assise fell in love and married my mom and immediately inherited an Italian mother-in-law and four preteen daughters.  He raised us as his own and we became a beautiful blended family with his son and us girls. He loves and worships my mom and would do anything for her! Last June they celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary…there is so much I could say, but words could never describe the true feelings I have for this strong man, so I would just like to say thank you Dad and I love you!

Submitted by Jean Marie

Dale

The strong man in my life is my husband Dale. He is an amazing husband, dad, son and son-in-law.  He has always been there for me, our children and our families. He supports our boys in whatever their interests are. Spent countless hours coaching the boys in whatever sport they were into.

Working in construction over 30 years has not slowed him down. He is always ready to do whatever anyone needs help with when he gets home from work. From helping fix a car, melting aluminum cans or traveling to a hockey game.

He worked side jobs along with his construction job after our boys were born so I could be an at home mom. I can never thank him enough for that.

I definitely found one of the strong men and I am so happy to call him my husband, my soul mate who gave me 3 amazing boys. 

Love Traci

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Jeff "Blaze"

My strong man is my dad, Jeff. He has always been there for me since day one. He is always pushing not only my brother and I to be the best version of ourselves but anyone who enters into his life. He not only gives it his all into his work and family everyday but also into his community. Anyone who knows Jeff knows he is a man of simple words and lots of head nods but someone who will be there for you in an instant. I am thankful everyday for him and hope to be slightly as big of an inspiration and role model to as many as he is in life. Love ya dad.

 

-Submitted by Brandie

John

I am a very lucky and blessed daughter due to the fact that my grandparents did a wonderful thing and adopted my mom. If it wasn’t for their big hearts to want to raise a child that wasn’t biologically theirs, I would not have had the best childhood I had, because I wouldn’t be here nor have my dad as my role model. 

 

I look up to him, and all his hard work he has done for not only himself, but us as a family! He made it possible for my mom to be able to stay home and raise my brother and I, and made lots of sacrifices to make it possible for my brother and I to do traveling sports which entailed weekends out of state, week nights out of town, but it also gave us the opportunity to travel and see different things sometimes as a family, and sometimes without dad there because he was working.  

 

The times he was home and able to spend time with us, he taught us how to do some of the things he loved. Like hunting (a lot of animals) and fishing. Those were the big two. Now my brother and I enjoy those things just as much, and always go do those things with my dad. My dad was not able to do sports as a kid, as he grew up on a farm and had to work before school, after school, the weekends, and all summer long. So he was not a big sports person, but through my brother and I he became a big sports person and learned a lot from us! We were never told no if we ever wanted to try something new. He was always willing to let us expand and go try new things. 

 

He has taught us how to maintain a vehicle, so we are able to fix them ourselves and not have to take it into a shop. He is very mechanically inclined, smart, talented, and very hard working, and STRONG. He is a very important part of my life, and has supported us tremendously with his hard work ethic! He ALWAYS put us and our needs/wants before his, and always made sure we were taken care of first. I am so very blessed to be able to call this man my Dad! 

 

- Daughter Carli 

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Cowboy

Where do I even start?? I’m one of the lucky ones…I’m blessed and honored to call the strongest man I have and will ever know, my father. From the moment I entered this world he has shown me what working hard and loving harder looks like. From hard working hands to a heart that would help anyone he’s met and never met. 

This is a man that NEVER stops working…and there isn’t much he hasn’t experienced. Just in my 40 short years this man has fought and WON the fight with Alcoholism (sober almost 37 years and STILL going STRONG), he is a Cowboy by every definition of the word…a former Ranch hand in North Dakota who spent his days in the fields, cattle driving, branding cattle, learning how to ride a horse which then transitioned him to breaking horses and even Rodeo (Team Roping - Heeler). He then moved his family of 3 to Wisconsin where he started over again and learned woodworking, specifically custom cabinetry working long days only to come home and work on his farmette (his passion) until it was time to go to bed and start it all over again the next day. Now mind you he did all this while being a supportive husband….and raising me, if you know you know.

I love you dad, love Samantha

Paul

This is my strong man. My husband Paul is always by my side and he works harder than anyone I know!  I have now been diagnosed with stage 4 breast cancer and he keeps trucking! He is home with me now even though we have no money coming in, as I lost my job because of the diagnosis. He is always my strongest supporter and I feel bad that so much pressure has been put on him. But he doesnt let it phase him. He is an over the road truck driver leaving next week again. He stays out 4-5 weeks at a time, we both wish he could be here more. I could never ask for a more supportive, loving husband! He is my lifeline!

Submitted by his wife Michelle

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John Fleming

When I hear your song "Strong Men”, my mind goes immediately to my father Mr. John Fleming. He grew up working on his family farm in New Lisbon,  Wisconsin. He has a great love for Oliver tractors and country music. He was even in a few local bands, one being The County Outlaws. He married my mother 31 years ago this April. They have 7 children together, 4 strong men and 3 strong women in their own right. They live in Oakdale, Wisconsin now on a small farm. 

 Growing up he made sure we were able to take any opportunity that was available to us. We were able to go on all the school trips and encouraged us to excel in the school band.

 

We always had food on the table and a roof over our head. Dad worked all kinds of jobs making sure his family was provided for. His first love was always farming. Even though he had an "up town job" he had some kind of farm to come home to. Whether that was milking cows or what he has now a small hobby farm. He taught us many valuable life lessons on the farm. There is always work to be done!

 He instilled in us kids that hard work does pay off but there will always be obstacles in your way and people doubting you along the way. He also taught us to lean on our faith when times get rough. He showed us that it costs nothing to be nice as well as the importance of just being polite. We all got our love of animals from him. I have always thought of my dad as a great teacher of all things. He is always there if you need advice or just someone to talk to.

 These days you can catch him singing the national anthem at tractor pulls as well as participating in the pulls with his sons and their collection of Oliver tractors. 

Submitted by his daughter Heather

Jake

I love my dad because he always makes my day and he rubs my back when I don’t feel good and he tucks me in every night and he picks me up from school and asks me how my day was and he is my bestfriend and my hero. He loves doing stuff with me like golfing and mini golfing to fishing and football in the pool. I love him, he’s my hero.

Love Emma

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Tim

My strong man submission is about my step dad. He came into my life when I was around 2 years old, and has stepped up and has been there for me for the last 23 years. This man is the most hardworking man I know, working 15+ hours a day in the spring and fall. He has supported me in every way a dad should and I have called him my dad since I was little. When my biological dad passed, he became one of my greatest supporters and someone I have always been able to count on. He is an amazing dad to 5 kids and now an amazing grandfather to 2 wonderful little kids. 

 

Submitted by his daughter Shelby

Larry, Josh & Matt

I sat and thought about writing this for one strong man in my life, and I couldn't choose just one! I am surrounded by so many strong men! Each of them have such extraordinary qualities and huge hearts. My first strong man is my Dad, Larry Hackman, who has provided for my mom and I since I was born. He is a true role model in putting others first and showing love daily to those around him. My second strong man is my loving boyfriend, Josh Quade. Josh also puts his family first and is a kind, caring soul. He shows me how much he loves me daily and always works hard to provide for his children. My third strong man is Matt Wopat, who is like another dad to me. He welcomed me into his family with open arms. He has supported me like one of his own for the last 15 years. Matt also goes the extra mile by commuting to GM weekly in Indiana to provide for his family. Each of these men would do anything for the people they love. A strong man isn't one with purely physical strengths but someone who shows strength from within. I am truly blessed to have each of these men in my life. 

 

Submitted by Mary Hackman

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Cory

My husband Cory is a strong man.

 

He was a single dad of 4 kids and had to take a hardship discharge from the military because the mother of his children, his ex wife, wasn't able to take care of the kids. Cory worked 10 years over nights to provide for the kids. With the help of his sister and me the last 6 years we have been blended. He is now working a day job in agriculture working on making pivots better. He doesn’t miss an activity for his 4 or my 2. To help with all the struggles he has a Christmas light show to give back to the community.  Cory will drop anything for his family. From fixing my grandma's furnace when it was -20, to changing the alternator on our daughter's car before a dance. 

 

Submitted by his loving wife Becky.

Robert

The strong man in my life is my dad. He is always there for me, pushing me to be the best I can be. He has always helped me in any way possible to get the things I need in life. He is so easy to talk to, mess around with, and someone I know has my back. I am so grateful to have a guy like him by my side and protecting me. Even though I don’t always tell him, my dad is my hero. 

 

-Devin

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Steve

My dad is definitely the best. He has always worked so hard to make sure that we have a roof over our heads and that we are taken care of, even working two jobs to make sure that we have the things we need. 

 

He shared his interests with all of us. From his enjoyment of George Thorogood to his love for professional sports, especially the Cubs, Badgers, Blackhawks, and Vikings.

 

He has always been one of his kids biggest fans. From getting his ear pierced because his oldest was scared to coming to all of our sporting events, he always makes sure to support us. Continuing this on by teaching his granddaughter to bowl and coaching her through all of her league and tournament events. 

 

Submitted by his loving daughter: Krissy

Jim

“Strong Men” is a Perfect description of my husband Jim! Jim grew up on a farm allowing no play time. It was chores on the farm, sun up to sun down, making tough dirty, strong, chapped, bleeding hands, helping his parents to provide for the family with 7 siblings. Farming led to being drafted into the Army to go to Vietnam for 411 days as a radio operator, witnessing so much sadness, to get spit on when he returned to the states. While in Vietnam Jim was sprayed with agent orange that led to health issues down the road. The 1st struggle was low sperm count, not even with 3 artificial inseminations was he able to conceive and become a daddy. This led to a divorce after 13 years with an alcoholic wife, then soon after that his dad committing suicide, which Jim blamed himself for because the night before his dad told him, if anything happens, you take care of mom. So with that guilt, not being able to become a dad, and Vietnam, Jim seeked counseling for 6 years to become that STRONG MAN he is today! Jim’s Faith and Strength with GOD is Strong! Jim is My Strong Man each and every day always watching over me. Jim would give his shirt off his back to help anyone.

 

Submitted by his loving wife: Laurie Kosharek

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