I greatly respect my dad. Can I brag since it’s Father’s Day? He's a special guy.
Let me explain...
His entire career has been dedicated to keeping you and me safe, starting with his military combat in the Persian Gulf where he received a Bronze Star with Combat Valor. After retiring from the Marine Corps, he led the US State Dept's Counter-Terrorism office for several years, through 9/11, which included jobs like tracking down terrorists, providing security for major events like the Sydney and Athens Olympic Summer games, and partnering with other nations to prepare and eliminate potential terrorist strikes, including Weapons of Mass Destruction. He spent the end of his career at the FBI in their Critical Incident Response Group where he continued to prepare and defend against bad guys. He has trained dozens of law enforcement organizations and has been deployed on numerous high profile investigations across the country, some you’ve probably seen in the news. Incredibly, in the midst of all his career responsibilities, 20+ years ago he took a full month off work and paid thousands to hire a translator and attorney and flew to Romania to adopt my younger sister, Kasey, when she was only six months old. As God would have it, he recently spent thousands more to fly the now adult Kasey back to Romania to meet her birth mom for the very first time. Now in "retirement," he still provides consulting expertise to national security agencies, and when he's not working, he's running marathons (in his 60's!) and playing with the 11 grandkids by the pool.
As an adult, I have learned how respected and well-known my dad is in the national security community. I’ll never forget when my brother and I were flying to Utah on a ski trip and the lady sitting next to us heard our last name and asked if we were Tom Hastings’ kids. She had worked with dad in some classified capacity. Or just last week I was on a walk in the neighborhood with Lindsay and the kids and my FBI neighbor mentioned being in a meeting recently where my dad was consulting.
While his career accomplishments are great, I respect him most for the way he fathered us. He was old school, and for that I’m thankful. I still remember being rewarded for good behavior with running the Marine Corps Base obstacle course, I remember waking up at 4 AM on Sundays with my brothers to deliver newspapers in the dark from the back of the old Chevy S10, I remember seeing him read his Bible in the early mornings as a teenager at the kitchen table, I remember him taking me to men’s prayer meeting every Saturday morning with a hot chocolate pitstop at 7-11 on the way, I remember long naps together on the Mamason chair, I remember him grabbing my knee while running errands in the truck which was always dad’s way of saying “I love you”.
I love my dad and am thankful for his commitment to God, family, and country - in that order. He is an extraordinary father!