This weekend, I got the chance to spend time with someone I truly admire: my dad. Both of my parents have worked tirelessly to encourage, support, and teach me, and I credit them with helping me become the person I am today. I found it only fitting that I shared the story of one of my biggest role models with you today. Many call him Dr. Morelan, but I call him Papa!
My dad was born in Northfield, Minnesota and raised on our family farm with 5 sisters and 2 brothers. In high school, he was in marching band, choir, and also participated in FFA. His passion for Barbershop Quartet singing led him to be a part of the local barbershop chorus and several quartets. After graduating, Dr. Morelan attended college briefly, but left to join the U.S. Army where he served our country for 20 years. While in the Army, he completed his Bachelor of Science degree at Jacksonville State University. During his time in the military he was stationed overseas for 3 tours, and in the States was assigned to Fort Benning, Georgia, Fort McClellan, Alabama, Fort Jackson, South Carolina, and Fort Sheridan, Illinois.
After military service, Dr. Morelan taught JROTC for 5 years. During that time he became certified as a high school teacher, principal, director of instruction, director of student services, and as a superintendent. He later served as a principal and superintendent in 2 different school districts in Wisconsin, and one in Illinois. After a short 10 month “retirement” he went back to work for the Department of Veterans Affairs in Frederick, Maryland, working at the VA Acquisition Academy as a training specialist. He also volunteers his time as the Chief of Staff for the United States National Defense Corps, with the rank of Brigadier General. Out of all his accomplishments, being an amazing dad is the one I’m most grateful for!
Who is someone who’s made a difference in your life and how did they do so?
One person who greatly impacted my life was my dad. He worked very hard to support and provide for his family. His priorities in life were God, Family, and Country, and those priorities are the ones which I have tried to follow. My dad worked 2 jobs for most of his life knowing that he had responsibilities to make sure that his wife and children had a home, food, and were taken care of in every way. We did not see our dad a lot because he had to travel a lot when working on construction sites and had to drive a long distance to get to some jobs. When he came home we were always busy doing chores with farm animals to tend to, and crops that also had to be sown, and harvested. We were instilled with a very strong work ethic. I never heard my dad pray out loud, but I know that he loved the Lord and in his later years had time to study the Bible.
What’s a piece of advice that’s served you well during your life?
One piece of advice that stuck with me for the majority of my adult life was shared by Peter Lord, an evangelist from Titusville, Florida during a crusade at Edgewood Baptist Church in Columbus, Georgia and that was a Scripture reading from Hebrews 12:1-2 which tells us “Therefore, since we have so great a cloud of witnesses surrounding us, let us also lay aside every encumbrance and the sin whichso easily entangles us, let us run with endurance the race that is set before us; fixing our eyes on Jesus, the author and perfecter of faith, who for the joy set before Him, endured the cross, despising the shame, and has sat down at the right hand of the throne of God.”
Just after attending that crusade I attended the Officer Candidate School at the 50th Company (OCS) at Fort Benning, and those 2 verses were the ones that kept me going and finishing that very challenging military school. I was also able to share that verse many times during OCS giving encouragement to my fellow cadets to run the race with endurance (or patience)—focusing on Jesus Christ to help us “run that race” to graduate as officers.
What’s one thing you think people can do to make a difference in this world?
If there was one thing that I could do to change the world it would be that people of all nations would turn to Christ and embrace the love of Christ that he has for each one of us. It is a daily struggle to just have a place to sleep and food to eat for many people in the world, but if we could really understand, deeply, the struggles of others and spend time to raise each other up to a better level, we would have a much more loving and caring world.
Tell me about a moment where you knew that what you were doing was making a difference.
First of all, seeing my children accept Christ and maturing into such beautiful, kind young men and women who love the Lord brings great joy to my heart!!! God made that happen by putting people in their lives who led them to the Lord during Awana training. That has been a blessing on my family.
One small impact where I have made a difference was in Basic Training at Fort Jackson, South Carolina, where I led a soldier to Christ using the pamphlet, “The Four Spiritual Laws”. This young man did not own a Bible, to I gave him the Bible that I brought with me to basic training – the Bible that had been given to me when I had completed confirmation in my local church. Although that Bible had a special meaning to me, the Lord told me that it was more important to give it to this new Christian so that he could read it, study the Word, and grow in his daily walk with the Lord.
I would not be who I am today without both of my parents, and I’m so happy that I got to share my dad’s story with you today! He is such a wonderful example of sacrifice, both for our country and my family, and I hope to be half as hard-working when I grow up. Thanks for joining me this week—go out and make a difference in someone’s life today!