We all encounter everyday heroes, but there are none like Steve Parker. Until recently, he was director of facilities for Fort Wayne Community Schools. He held this position for 14 years and was responsible for ensuring facilities remained viable community assets and suitable environments for the 31,000 students in our district.
For Parker, it is all about the kids. Some believe it is not important for our students to be educated in facilities that are comfortable. Parker knows having adequate facilities is not only fiscally responsible – it is also the right thing to do for our children.
Parkers enthusiastic efforts were enough to make him a hero. He became a true inspiration when, in the fall of 2010, he found out he not only had cancer but also was diagnosed with amyotrophic lateral sclerosis (Lou Gehrigs disease). His reaction was to re-energize his efforts to repair FWCS buildings, keep a positive attitude and work until it was accomplished. Even as his ability to walk and talk lessened, Parker continued to work every day with a smile, determined to improve conditions for our students.
Unfortunately, Parkers illness has progressed to a level that he can no longer do the work he loves. His determination has not lessened – his resolve is ever strong – but his physical condition does not allow him to continue. Despite all of this, Parker continues to keep a positive attitude and looks forward to the weddings of his two daughters this year.
Parker illustrates that what is important is not what happens to you but how you react to it. He is an inspiration to me and all who know him. I am proud and honored to have worked with him and to call him a friend. He is truly a hero.