As most everyone knows, my brother, SFC Alan Conrad has decided to retire this year. I remember so many things growing up with him as my much older brother. He and his wife (then girlfriend) Gyneth took me to the fireworks. We had a blanket and snacks on the Concordia High School lawn. I thought I was something! As I look back, did they want to drag the little sis along or was I a chaperone for my mom? I don’t know, but I had fun! Anyway, whether he realizes it or not, he taught me many things as I grew up.
He taught me fair is not always equal. See this? On Sundays, we would watch “The Wonderful World of Disney,” and we would have popcorn and pop for a treat. Since Alan was older, he poured my coke in an itty bitty glass while he poured his in a quart mason jar. Equal would not have been fair because he was so much older with the big bowl of popcorn.
He also taught me to always follow the rules. He taught me this through the game Hide and Seek when he and my sister would babysit for me. When Mom and Dad left, he put me in my hiding place (the cupboard) instructing me that I should always be very, very quiet and never come out until he or our older sister Kim found me, which was always when mom and dad were coming down the street.
Most importantly, he has always been a model of a strong Christian man. I watched him pray and grow in Christ. I wanted to be just like him. When he was 11 or 12, he made a wooden cross for our dad’s birthday. That cross was always a source of strength for my family and me especially when he was deployed. Through his example, he taught me to walk with God and to always pray.
I was blessed to get to know Alan as a working adult here at Concordia. In fact, I never would have had the opportunity to join Concordia if it hadn’t been for him, and I am so grateful he thought of me when the Study Center position opened up. He suggested I apply and although he never said it out loud, I’m pretty sure he wanted to spend more time with me. I’m not sure I’d recommend him as a reference, though! When the principal, asked him about me, he replied, “I don’t know what she’s like! She was a kid when I left for the Army!”
It is going to be so different without him roaming the halls and checking in with me. I will miss that, but I am so happy he will have the opportunity to spend time with his family!
God’s blessings and your retirement and welcome to Command Sergeant Major (Retired) Jon Mitchell.
Study Center Director
(and younger sister to SFC Alan Conrad)