It may come as a shock that that throughout most of America’s history, elected officials put the common good above their own personal interest. In our world so obsessed with oneself, sacrificing is abnormal. Our country was built by strong men of God who wanted everyone to flourish. We could really use some leaders like John Rieley, who act more like fathers than self-serving autocrats.
As a father of three, I am realizing more and more how difficult a role I have. I put my all into work day after day, and come home and try to be the best example I can. I push myself when I think I cannot take anymore. The influence I have on my children is undeniable. That’s motivating and terrifying in the same breath!
The understanding that has come with being a father has made me realize the influence of a man who has been like a father in my life, John Rieley.
The Rieleys are family friends, so one could say I’m biased. How could I not be? This man, during some of my darkest hours, was one of my founding fathers, someone who has helped set the course of my life. I love my father immensely but he has been fighting a different battle that has required a lot of his attention through the years.
I began dealing drugs at 12 years old. When John Rieley found out I was headed in the wrong direction, he graciously offered to let me live on the family farm. Saying I was less than excited is a vast understatement. I would have run away if I had somewhere to go, but I decided to cooperate with the Rieley regime.
They treated me just like the rest of their children from day one. I felt the utmost love and was taught some important lessons about being a man. A very important thing my mother taught me was the value of hard work, which was further instilled in me at the Rieleys’.
I was doing well in school and working for the family poultry farm when my mother got into a better position to be the primary caregiver for my brother and me again. I did well for a while but slowly got back into the same drug scene I had known before.
Every day became a party, and I hung around people who did harder drugs. Soon I was strung out on opiates and making very bad decisions. I was in and out of juvenile hall and rehabs for a few years before I finally advanced to adult prison at SCI. This is where I detoxed off of opiates and began to realize what everyone else already had: that I was the problem.
I had three visitors in my time there. John and Lou Ann Rieley came to see me, and were thankful to see me alive, encouraging me to clean up my act, as John likes to say. By the grace of God, on Jan. 6 I will have seven years drug and alcohol free. I’ve been extremely blessed in that time with a beautiful wife and three children and thriving businesses.
Every member of the Rieley family to this day still considers me family. John Rieley has been and still is one of my founding fathers of my life. John cares about people, their problems and their quality of life in a way that few people do. He will bring that same level of caring to our county council. Please vote for him on Nov. 6.