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Opinion: Our father’s selflessness inspired us to dedicate our lives to community service

Anglea is CEO of Interfaith Community Services and lives in Escondido. Stubblefield is executive director at the MiraCosta College Foundation and lives in Carlsbad.

Our dad’s parents both grew up in poverty during the Depression. Our granddad would go on to a career in aviation. As a young kid walking to school barefoot each day in Kentucky, he would see the happy faces of people in the windows of overflying airplanes, and think, “Gee, wouldn’t it be better to be up there than be stuck down here in the mud.”

Perhaps because of that, our dad, Rob Anglea, who is 75 years old, has never taken education or privilege for granted. He is notably frugal, yet also the most generous person we both know — and that’s saying a lot since both of us work in philanthropy! Our dad has always been focused on giving others what they need. His selflessness has been demonstrated throughout his life. As the first feminist, male role model in our lives, he supported our mom completing both her undergraduate and graduate degrees in the late 1960s and early 1970s. For him to do so as a newlywed and early in his own career with two kids on the way, that’s the type of selfless love our dad embodies. When they later divorced in our teenage years, he never said a negative word about our mom, instead carrying on in support of us both, including raising the youngest of us through high school.

Later when our dad met and married our amazing stepmom Kathy, he took on a new fathering role helping to raise her then-two young girls. He approached that in his usual thoughtful, selfless way, getting to know them and trying to be there for what they needed, not what he needed.

Forever practical, our dad taught us things like avoiding procrastination (“What’s the point? Just get it done now.”), how to buy a car (“Make an offer and walk away — you can always go back if they don’t bite!”), the importance of giving clear, if sometimes lengthy, directions, and above all else always acting with integrity and commitment (“Jobs come and go, but your integrity, how you act, that will stick with you.”).

It probably also came from his own parents’ commitment to community, church, and personal, generous relationships, but our dad also instilled in us a deep sense of giving back and helping others. And he was crystal-clear that we could do and be whoever we wanted if we put in the work and kept at it.

We now have the honor and responsibility leading major institutions serving our community — one of us as executive director of the MiraCosta College Foundation, one of us as CEO of Interfaith Community Services. Each organization empowers and helps people to survive and thrive. We support underserved and historically marginalized people to realize the same upward mobility our dad, and our granddad, were so fortunate to achieve.

Every day we try to give to others, and to give our community, what our dad has given to us. Kindness. Patience. Selflessness. Integrity. Dignity.

Dad, we are forever grateful for you. We love you. We continue to be inspired by you, and we look forward to celebrating with you on Father’s Day!