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Hey Everyone, we would like you to meet Dan. He is an outstanding guy who has been frequenting Roots for quite a while now. It is always great to chat with Dan and his take on world events. He’s always encouraging and engaging. We sat down and asked Dan a few questions.

Sum yourself up in two sentences.

I am a cautious optimist.

Who or what inspires you?

One person who comes to mind is my boss, the owner of HighPoint Electric. I definitely look up to him. He has built a business from nothing and that’s amazing on its own merit. I see his passion for his craft which is partially why he’s been so successful. His success is shared through the employees of the company though. If he wanted to, he could sit at home and collect the profits while everyone else works for him, but that’s not who he is. Even 11 years after starting this company, he still rolls up his sleeves and works alongside those people working for him. He will show up on Saturday job sites to help the crew install a transformer for a customer. That’s just who he is and how he operates.

Even more inspiring, however, is that he loves Jesus and shows it through his love for people. He runs his company with the desire to be a blessing to others, especially his employees. I can think of so many examples of how he has gone above and beyond to help employees in need, whether it’s financially or emotionally. He does it quietly though, through his actions, which I think is really awesome. It makes me think about my own walk in life, with God, my family, friends, work. I want to live life like he does, loving people and following Jesus. Not just to say that’s who I am, but to actually live it out.

What is something you have always wanted to try but have been too afraid to?

Something maybe like skydiving or bungee jumping. I THINK I would like to try it, but who knows? I’m just not certain that I would actually take the plunge out of the plane, as much as I would want to do it.

What was one of your most defining moments in life?

I would say there are two moments in my life that really stick out as life changing, life altering. One moment in time would be when I was in college and my best friend committed suicide. That was life changing in many ways. While I may not have understood at the time, this life event strengthened my faith in who God was. I also directly experienced the comfort and peace that the Holy Spirit provides. It brought reality to the scripture, “I will never leave you. I will never forsake you.” These truths from Scripture became evident in my life. We never need experience to qualify Scripture, but it certainly can solidify it in our hearts. The second moment that comes to mind happened 8 years ago when I was deeply struggling with pride in my life; pride in work, pride in my marriage. It was a struggle that wasn’t new, but something I knew I needed to change for years building up to this moment. I got so sick of myself and sick of the rut I was trapped in. Up until that point I had been depending on my own strength to free myself rather than humbling myself and crying out to Jesus. For some reason at that time, the Holy Spirit decided to break through my thick skull and teach me that I can’t fix myself. I was brought to Psalm 139:23-24 “Search me, God, and know my heart; test me and know my anxious thoughts. See if there is any offensive way in me, and lead me in the way everlasting.” This Psalm became my prayer day after day and it changed me; the Holy Spirit changed me; from the inside out. It’s amazing how you can know the Bible and the truths in it but not until you truly believe them and apply them do you realize how much you had missed. I could have been freed from my bondage ages ago. But that’s the way us humans go right? We are stubborn, but it’s never too late to be changed by God. And 8 years later I’m still changed. His changing power, His freeing love is forever.

How do you overcome fear or challenges?

There’s a huge aspect of prayer that is involved in overcoming fear & challenges. This is something I need to work on. I want prayer to be my first response when I’m in the middle of the crap in my life.

Also, my personality is such that I don’t often show fear. It drives my wife nuts because I come across as unconcerned in the middle of stressful or scary situations. I think too logically so my mind tells me, “There’s nothing else we can do. We’ve done all we can. So why fear, why stress? It’s not going to change anything.”

So I guess I don’t feel fear that often. I’m pretty great at compartmentalizing those thoughts and feelings. I won’t say that it’s always a great quality to have but it’s how my mind works. I frequently have to work on this in my relationship with my wife – I need to make sure I’m showing concern over the things she’s afraid of.

In regards to challenges, I get overwhelmed pretty easily so I have to make sure I lay out what the challenge is, know the facts and then take action. I respond to some challenges the same way I respond to fear – compartmentalizing and shutting them out of my mind. You can imagine that it’s not the best way to get things done sometimes! However, the older I get, the better I am at facing challenges head on, being bold, and addressing anything that comes in front of me.

What is something about you that others would be surprised to know?

A couple years ago, my wife and I decided to start fostering little kiddos in the Muskegon/Ottawa County area. We’ve already experienced a ton of turmoil, love, life, laughs, and tears through this venture. We have 4 of our own kids and currently have 2 sister foster daughters at our home. There is a huge need for foster parents in Michigan. My family has grown immensely through our experiences as a foster family. The lessons my kids are learning are priceless and the love they are finding in their hearts to show towards others melts my heart. If I can encourage anyone reading this to do something in life, it would be to help out the kids who are in need. Even though we can’t see them, they are all around us and their lives are precious. One more “soapbox” statement 🙂 We focus as a society so much on life before birth right? What if we also focused the same amount of energy on life after birth?

So, one more thing that is widely unknown is my ability to sing. I’ve sung the national anthem for various sporting events; the Tigers, the Griffins, the Spartans, etc. I grew up singing and playing the piano and my family has decades of musical ability. As an adult, however, it’s not a very practical skill (you can’t provide for a family this way).

So it was really exciting for me to get involved in singing the anthem since my only other outlet for music is church. Back in 2012, I got to know the facilities crew at the Van Andel Arena as they were my customers. We were out to lunch one day and I made a comment about how it would be fun to sing the national anthem for a game and they said they could hook me up. Next thing you know I got a call asking if I would sing for the NCAA hockey tournament. I asked if they needed me to come in and audition for them and they said no. They figured one of two things would happen: either I was fooling myself to think I was good and everyone would get a good laugh out of my performance or I probably really was good and would have a great performance! Well, I guess it’s worked out since they’ve asked me to come back many more times.

*For those who were curious about his singing follow this link.                                           Dan singing National Anthem

What is your favorite thing about Roots?

I fancy myself a coffee shop critic. I’ve been in sales a long time and thus have spent a lot of time in coffee shops. The location of Roots is great. It’s central for me no matter where I am in Grand Rapids. Also, the ambiance is fantastic, the seating is cool, the music is what it should be (not too loud, acoustic). It’s almost not even the coffee that I come for. It’s all the other aspects that brings me in and keeps me here. Getting to know the Roots staff is fun too. Your staff isn’t here just to serve us coffee they’re here to connect with people and that makes a huge difference.