One of the enduring tenets in my life, and one that I’ve shared in these articles over the years is, “never forget who you are and where you came from!” For me it means—do not forget your beginnings, those who helped you along the way, and don’t get too arrogant either. Because when you do, you risk becoming someone who, as my grandma used to say, is “too big for your britches!” The people who are sharp and aware enough to understand these concepts are those who understand that we are all human beings and regardless of our status, deserve to be treated with respect and courtesy.

When I heard of the recent passing of Mike Fryer, the founder of this magazine, I was saddened and disheartened by this news. What a special person with a vision for our industry! I remember the first time I met Mike at their offices off of Spring Mountain Road and became a member of the journalist team—he had a big smile on his face and was very welcoming. Then he shared with me their vision and I saw examples of the exciting plans and ideas they had for this magazine for the food and beverage industry in Las Vegas. It was very motivating and inspiring for me to be considered a part of their vision! I was and am honored! 

When I think about people like Mike who have influenced or impacted me over time, it is humbling. I think about how these people and situations have shaped and formed the person that I have become. This, of course, has to start with my parents and grandparents. These family foundations and experiences were very significant in how I perceived myself and my life. The very basic meaning of these lessons was—help others and keep a positive outlook. Grandma use to say… “many hands make light work!”—and these words of wisdom ultimately determined the purpose of my life, who I decided to be, and who I would become. To me, this simple thought meant that we are here to help one another and to pitch in on the work and do our part. 

There have been several other individuals who have influenced me and my life. Some of these people were bad people, but luckily many more of them were wonderful, good people. Those bad individuals taught me the most valuable lesson of all—don’t ever become someone like them! These bad people displayed poor actions and behaviors toward others and acted in an unethical and selfish manner. In my opinion, they were bad souls.

However, more important are the good people in our lives. These good people were those who were teachers and instructors, and became mentors to and for me. They made time for me and my questions, had patience and consideration, and took the time to help me understand the bigger picture. While I reflect back on those impactful people, without including my primary family foundations, these people were Joe, Kathy, Janet, Frank, Esther, Susan and Jeff. I will keep their last names private for their sake, but I learn/learned a lot from them. 

My final thought on the importance of the impact that those who influenced us is to remember that we are also influencing others each and every day by the things we do and the things we say. While no one is perfect, the way(s) in which we behave do have an enduring and significant impact on those we interact with—all along the way. We must be considerate of that fact and remember to not act or speak with others in a manner that says… “I am better than you.” We are not better than others regardless of status or money; we are all equal on this earth. If we can keep this concept of helping others active in our minds and to form our actions around this tenet, we are on the way to contributing to the greater good and thereby living by the Golden Rule—“treat others in the way that you would like to be treated!” It’s a great place to start and to end our lives! 

In closing, I wish to dedicate this article to the memory of and offer it in honor of good people like Mike Fryer and send it with love and best wishes to his family!