My grandfather was the only father figure I had when I was a kid, and after he passed away, I had no one to look up to. When I came to the youth home in 1963 at the age of 13, Paul Anderson stepped in to fill the gap. From the time I arrived, I noticed that, although Paul was a busy man, he always made time for each of us. He traveled a great deal raising money for the home, but when he was home, he always made us a priority. Whether we were sitting down to dinner as a family, playing football on the weekends, playing football while he cheered us on from the stands, or having one of many one-on-one talks behind his house on the round patio, you never doubted that Paul cared for us as his own sons.
I remember one game during the 1967-68 season where one of our guys (Danny) took a hard hit and had to be taken to the emergency room. It turned out that he had a blood clot in his brain, and that he needed emergency surgery. Although he had been traveling extensively that week and was exhausted, Paul stayed with him throughout the entire ordeal. He refused to leave his side, even when staff members begged him to go home and get some rest. He turned them down, saying “My name is on the sign. I’m responsible for him.”
He always made sure we had what we needed (but not always what we WANTED), he was a tough disciplinarian who didn’t raise us to be “soft,” and above all made sure we had every possible opportunity to get to know Jesus as our Lord and Savior. In the 50 years I’ve been on staff at PAYH, I’ve tried to apply the lessons he taught me – how to be a man of your word, how to make time for the people who are important to you, and how to shape young boys into strong men of Christ through tough love.
Happy Father’s Day in Heaven, Paul!
Director of Plant Operations