These two words compromise the entire personal mission statement of my father. In 8 days my dad will work his last day with Southeastern Freight Lines as the Sr. VP of Operations. There is little doubt that he would say these last 23 years of his professional career have been a greater blessing than he could have ever imagined. I’ve listened to my father share of his great love for the Cassels family who own and operate Southeastern Freight Lines, his love for the lifelong friends and colleagues made throughout the years, and his love for being part of a thriving, well run business that strives for excellence in every aspect of thier industry. And throughout all these many years my dad’s one desire has been to finish strong.
Last week I had the privilege of taking Julie, Abby, Jackson, and Blake to Charlotte to hear my dad give one final devotion to the regional team members meeting in Charlotte. We sat in the back of the room, and for 35 minutes listened to my father pour out his heart, passionately sharing the glorious gospel of Jesus Christ. Words can’t adequately express the emotion I felt in my soul as I listened to my dad open up the Scriptures and challenge the teams he sought to faithfully lead for 23 years to put thier hope in Jesus, the One who laid down His life on the cross that we might be reconciled to God.
As my dad sat down beside us, and with Blake jumping onto Poppops lap, I just gave thanks to the Heavenly Father who has given me, my family, and my siblings (and their families) the unbelievable blessing of having a Christ-centered father. And as if my heart weren’t swelling enough with pride, Tobin Cassels (the president of SEFL) stood up and gave a tribute to my father for the next 45 minutes or so. He reflected on my dad’s childhood, his high school years, how he met my mom, and even a little about his 6 week hitch-hiking excursion to California after his freshman year at Wake Forest University. Mr. Cassels talked about my dad’s professional life before Southeastern Freight Lines and also how the company had grown while dad was there.
But there were two things that really impacted me by what Mr. Cassels said. The first was regarding the influence my father had has on his life. During the years of 1990 to 1996 Mr. Cassels (Tobin) was actually supervised by my dad. Tobin talked about all he had observed and learned from my father about business, family, marriage, and life. He was moved to tears…and I fought back the same. The other thing that really impacted me was listening to Tobin share letters that had been submitted by some of the associates who had been impacted by my dad. It was so neat to hear how the investment my father had made impacted those he cares so much about.
Finish Strong. Well dad, as far as work is concerned…Mission Accomplished! To God be the Glory!