This weekend Bud and Selma Pierce joined many Oregonians celebrating Father’s Day. Bud believes “Fathers rejoice when they see their children grow into their full potential, and always seek to assist their children with visible and invisible hands.”
His own father’s hands for the past several decades have been invisible. Bud lost his father at the age of 14. It was a day like any other until his dad went out to run an errand and never made it home. He passed away at the age of 59 from a heart attack.
While the loss is hard to imagine, Bud is quick to point out, “It makes you grow up faster since you’ve lost the sense of protection a father brings. It makes you feel like you are kind of on your own, which can be a positive if there are others around to mentor you through those teen years.”
Because there weren’t many public programs at the time, Bud believes the community itself was quicker to step up and help. Neighbors, school teachers, and employers mentored Bud during high school. He quickly got a job which allowed him to contribute to the family income, as well as develop relationships with men like Smitty, who took him under his wing and showed him the ropes of responsibility. At school math teachers, not counselors spent extra time checking in to see how he was doing with his father’s passing.
But, Bud’s loss was primarily softened by the kindness of his neighbor, Mrs. Crawford, who had lost her husband earlier that year. She spent time with Bud, his mother, and sister, and became what Bud would describes as a second mom. She took time to sit, talk, listen, and encourage the family and was a key influence in helping his mother, who had emigrated from Berlin, understand how to use the GI bill (that she was eligible for with her husband’s death) to go back to school and eventually become a nurse.
This is a key reason why Dr. Pierce believes so strongly in the dignity of work, and the need for low cost higher education for Oregonians. Without the opportunity of a job and education for his mother, the trauma of losing his father would have been matched with the trauma of poverty and all that encompasses.
Bud Pierce has a plan for Oregon to increase our job opportunities and lower education costs. Join him in building an Oregon where we create policies that foster an environment where all of our children, even those who’ve lost the primary breadwinner in the family, can reach their full potential.