This Father’s Day is a special one for me because it’s the first one in my lifetime when I will not be able to call my dad and wish him well. You see, I lost him earlier this year just short of his 90th birthday.

I was honored to speak at his memorial service and I found myself using the word “great” often to describe him. He was a great father, a grandfather (and a great one) and even a great-grandfather. Dad was a military vet, a dedicated Christian, a Scout leader and an outdoorsman.

Victor Graden - fishingHe always encouraged me in my interests, and it was his encouragement that helped fuel my pursuits in Scouting, outdoor activities, and my career path in forestry. The example he set taught me how to carry on his legacy of family values within my own family — with my wife, my children and grandchildren. I owe a lot to him.

He will be fondly remembered and sorely missed this Father’s Day, but he lives on in my memories and my heart. And I will always remember the ideals he taught me in my work with SFI, promoting conservation, sustainable forestry practices, and advancing an appreciation for the natural resources entrusted to each of us for responsible stewardship by our Creator.

Thanks, Dad. Happy Father’s Day!


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