One of my plans for this year is to shoot a series of “mentor” portraits. Images of those who’ve had a hand in shaping me into the man I’ve become.
The first of these is Mr. Darel Maxfield.
He was my 7th grade history teacher at Salk Middle School here in Spokane (27 years ago ) and was easily the most influential of any teacher I had during my school years.
I never knew my birth father, so I’ve always searched for male role models, father figures. Middle school is a tough time for even the most well rounded kids, and I was far from that.
This man’s kindness and his dignified approach to students left an indelible impression on me, and I’ve begun teaching my children many of the things I learned from him.
He treated every student with respect, no matter who we were or where we came from. He always gave each kid a fair shake.
Having him over today, catching up on our lives - hearing stories of his time serving in and living in Iraq and his struggles of coming back from a major stroke he suffered in 2012, it made me respect the man all the more. Introducing him to my children was one of the great joys I’ve known in a long time.
He always told us kids that “today is tomorrow’s memory, so make it a good one.” Well, he did that for me today and to be able to honor him in my own way meant a great deal. - 10 days ago