A Little Man with a Big Smile

This is Ron with your Motivational Message:

He jumped into the truck and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, pulling me to the ground.  I could see the veins popping out of his neck as he screamed, “What do you think you’re doin’?!”


Today was a bittersweet moment.  Willard Keane, one of my family’s dearest friends passed away at 99 ½ years old this past week.  As I rolled towards his casket, I could see a man full of life and a big smile that went from ear to ear.  Willard was a hard-working farmer who did things right.  I must say, he was a miser, at times, because all of his equipment seemed to need an overhaul.  The one thing to note is that he lived a productive life, touching many lives and left a legacy for the family and friends who survived him.

Our history began when my father became friends with Willard’s late wife, Doris.  She taught a Bible study in the small Methodist church that we attended.  It was because of her Bible knowledge and the ability to answer my dad’s questions that he turned his party life over to God.  This changed the course of our family’s lives.  My dad was completely changed and as a result, my mom and the three of us children dedicated our lives to the Lord.

The summer that I turned 16, Willard offered me a farm job.  I was excited and looked forward to my first real paycheck.  One day, however, Doris and Willard had an argument about how to operate a particular piece of farm equipment.  Doris was bigger and louder, so it appeared to me that she had won the argument.

A few hours later, I was kicked back relaxed in the seed truck waiting for the combines, as Mrs. Keane instructed.  The truck door flew open and I shot upright, startled and confused.   Willard jumped into the cab and grabbed me by the collar of my shirt, pulling me to the ground outside.  I could see the veins popping out of his neck as he screamed, “What do you think you’re doin’?!  I want the combines emptied on the go!”  I threw down my hat and yelled back, “I don’t know what you want me to do!  You and your wife keep telling me different things!”  He responded, “You work for ME!”  I told him that I quit, picked up my hat, and began the long walk home.

I later regretted walking away from my first job, but thanks to my foreman, Don, I was able to reconcile with Willard and continued to work through the summer.  Although they never said it, I’m sure they regretted their decision because I wrecked a lot of equipment.  I guess you could have called me “fast and furious.”

In memory of Willard, I want to say that I’m grateful for him giving me an opportunity to learn, work, and become responsible.  It also afforded me a job reference.  My thoughts of Willard are pleasant and I never saw him angry since that day in the field.

To all those employers out there, I say “thank you” for giving us a chance.  May we continue to work hard and advance our skills.  If you haven’t already, go show your employer some appreciation; it may go a long way.  May we celebrate life and make it a good day.

<a href="http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvfES4saxTY&feature=youtu.be">http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=dvfES4saxTY&feature=youtu.be</a>

To your inspiration,


Posted in Ron's Thoughts.


  1. Thank you for coming to our school! (Laurel Ridge Middle School) I think it is really cool that you spoke to us, for it really inspired me.

  2. Ron Heagy,
    Thank you so much for coming to Laurel Ridge Middle School and speaking to us! I didn’t know anything about you but I was still excited to hear from you. I have heard many speakers in my lifetime and you are the best speaker I’ve ever heard. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

  3. Ron Heagy,
    Thank you for coming to LRMS (a.k.a Laurel Ridge Middle School). You were so inspiring to hear and you touched a lot of people here. I am so glad that you see things so positively and you can do basically everything you could do before. That’s
    really amazing. Thank you for taking the time out of your day to come and speak to us. The next time my life ‘stinks’ I will “flip the switch”. So thank you. You are so amazing!!!!

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