Several of my friends shared their thoughts and photos of their mothers, in celebration of Mother’s Day.
My mother never told me what to do, rather she taught by living her life as an example of how to be a good person, and how to treat others. She was kind, always. She treated everyone she met with respect, and a smile. She saw the good in people. How lucky I was to have her– I hope I’m good at those things, too. She was my greatest champion and friend. When I spoke at her funeral, I said, “I sure am glad I had her for my mom for 33 years, rather than someone I didn’t like very much for 70!” The time with her was too short, but I am reminded of how fortunate I have been when I meet someone new who knew her. Almost to a person, they take my hand and say, “You’re Linda’s daughter?!?”….it feels like they are happy just to be with someone who reminds them of her. And that is a gift to me.
I’m a lucky man to be born to this woman. Her sacrifices and hard work laid the foundation for not only me, but my children. She was a parent at 17 and raised three children, mostly by herself. We didn’t have much at all, but we had a ton of guidance and love. As I navigate parenting, I turn to the example she set and the things she taught. Sydney and Tyson just love her for being grandma, but they are going to hear stories about her for the rest of her life and some day they will understand her greatness and impact on the people they become.
That is my older sister Emily Pack and my mom is Cathy Young. “The first thing my mom gave me was her smile and then she taught my siblings and I how to use it well! She was a nurse who cured with medicine and her quick smile. She is my example of selflessness, strength and unconditional love. She is who I strive to be.”
CINspirational People is a new feature of Good Things Going Around profiling diverse people of Greater Cincinnati, what inspires them, and what is inspiring about them. Today we are featuring Brian Gregg.
Know someone for us to consider? Please submit your idea.
GTGA: What is an accomplishment you achieved that you are proud of?
Brian Gregg: I don’t know that there is one single accomplishment I dwell on. Overall, I’m proud of beating the odds. I was born to a 17-year-old mother in a depressed steel town. She raised three children essentially on her own, at times making as little as $2.40 an hour. I worked as many as three jobs at a time to get through college. I’ve been blessed with a wonderful life and that foundation taught me anything is possible through hard work and determination.
GTGA: Tell us about someone who has been a positive influence in your life.
Brian: Everything I have today is because of my mother. She raised three kids, essentially as a single mom. We came from poverty. Not only was she a tremendous role model in how hard she worked and how great she was in caring for our family, but she put effort into keeping us on the straight and narrow. When I was a senior in high school and told her I had decided not to go to college, she absolutely put her foot down and insisted I go. If I hadn’t gone to college, my life would be completely different today, and not in a good way.
GTGA: What is a motto you live by and why or how has it impacted you?
Brian: “What doesn’t kill you makes you stronger.” I’m a fighter. When life knocks you on your arse, get up, learn from the experience and get right back into something positive. If we are not moving forward, we are dying. Every negative experience we have is a learning experience that makes us better.
GTGA: What is your biggest motivator?
Brian: My children: Sydney, 3, and Tyson, 2. I waited until I was in my 40s to get married and had my first child at 45. I never really strongly desired children, but they now absolutely hold my heart. I’m motivated to provide them with a great life and tremendous experiences. I am motivated to teach them the importance of being a good person and having a positive influence on the world. I am motivated to prepare them for adulthood and whatever it throws their way.
GTGA: Tell us about an act of kindness you have done, witnessed or been the recipient of and how that made you feel.
Brian: My son had open-heart surgery at the age of two months. It was a life-or-death matter. The outpouring of support and love we received from family and friends during this time was genuine and comforting. The commitment Cincinnati Children’s Hospital Medical Center had to his care was reassuring. We were extremely grateful to live so close to one of the best children’s hospitals in the world. The whole ordeal made us much more appreciative of family, friends, our community and life.
GTGA: Tell us about what you do and what are some of the reasons why you enjoy it.
Brian: I am the chief communications officer at Hamilton County Job and Family Services. I spent a decade as a newspaper reporter and then a few years in corporate public relations. This job marries the desire I had as a newspaper reporter to “change the world” with my move to public relations. It is much easier to get excited about work that changes lives than it is about selling a product or peddling market research. JFS helps about half a million people in this community each year and there are many great stories for me to tell. I am frequently amazed at the work performed by the 800 employees who work at JFS. From Director Moira Weir on down, I am working with folks who really care deeply about the people they serve.