Let me tell you a little about my dad. Throughout his life, he has dabbled in many different businesses as he has tried to figure out ways to support his family, pursue his passions and live life on his own terms. He’s been in the garment business, the real estate business, the restaurant business, the furniture business, the self-storage business and when I was a kid, he used to own a shoe store.
Some ventures brought him success and some did not.
I think I get a lot of my drive and creativity from him. We are both workaholics, whether you think that is a good thing or a bad thing.
About 10 years ago, he built his house, constructing it in all recycled materials and powering it as eco-consciously as possible. This was in a time when few people had gone to such efforts to reduce their carbon footprint. We have differed in our political views from time to time, but my dad has always been a fierce advocator for the environment. He thinks climate change is undebatable and should be a non-partisan issue.
He and his brother have owned a piece of land in the middle of Suffolk county since the ‘80s, when they were able to purchase it dirt cheap. For as long as I can remember, he has been coming up with different ideas for what do with this land. None of them stuck and the land has always sat idle. Finally, about five years ago, he came up with a plan. Suffolk county has one of the highest carbon footprints in the state and my dad wanted to use the land to help the environment. At first, he wanted to do a housing development with all eco-conscious homes built like his own. But the cost for doing that was too high and he couldn’t get his partners on board. Then he had the idea to build a farm for an alternative source of energy. After lots of research, he determined a solar farm was the best option.
For the last five years, we have heard story after story about my dad’s plan for the solar farm, never quite believing it would actually come to fruition. This is how we treat a lot of my dad’s grand plans. He kept telling us he was getting somewhere and then there would be another hurdle. It seemed like he encountered endless opposition at every turn. But through it all, my dad continued to focus on it and fight for it.
Finally, pro-environment politicians stepped in and gave his plan the go ahead earlier this year. This month I got to see the fruit of his labor. My dad’s hard fought solar farm finally in the building phase after years of rejections and re-strategizing.
We even got to bring Mazzy and Harlow to the farm and they got to learn a thing or two about the family legacy that my dad will leave behind— a passion project to help save the earth for future generations like theirs.
Happy Father’s Day, Dad. I know you always say you are proud of me, so let me say— I could not be more proud of YOU.