I know that when most people think of a legacy, they picture centuries-old tales of ancestors fighting great battles overseas and trekking across the uncharted plains of the New World. However, I don’t have to search through numberless decades in order to discover the stories that have affected my family and I the most. For me, the legacy that has had the greatest impact is that of my grandfather, Alfred Weyhreter.
My grandfather was born on November 13th, 1940, in Manhattan, New York. When he was young, he and his family were very poor. Both of his parents had immigrated to America from Germany, and starting over in a new country was nowhere close to easy, especially since it was during the Great Depression when they made the journey. Because of this, my grandfather learned to work hard from an early age. When he was very young, his mother cleaned apartments to earn money for the family, and she would bring him along with her. So, even at four years old, he began helping her to dust the furniture to aid in getting the work done more quickly. From the age of thirteen, he was sent away during the summers to take a job on a farm, where he learned how to bale hay, milk cows, corral horses, and more. He became very strong because of this, and even his friends at school noticed how he had changed with his work.
My grandpa thinks it is very important to get an education. He attended undergraduate school in Missouri, and then continued his graduate study in Brooklyn. However, when he was twenty-three, his life was turned upside down. One day, his father fell down the stairs to the basement, hit his head, and passed away. After that, my grandfather worked hard to take care of his mother and provide for her, which was extremely difficult while he was working through college and graduate school. Despite all of this, he continued to obtain his education in engineering throughout the years, and later in life, he obtained his Phd in clinical nutrition while my mother was in high school.
While still in his mid-twenties, my grandfather made a decision that would change the rest of his life — and those of his descendants — forever. A friend of his introduced him to a pair of missionaries from the Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints, and he accepted their invitation to learn about the gospel of Jesus Christ. He was later baptized, and has since then been a firm member of the Church with a strong testimony. It was at a church activity where he met my grandmother, and the two of them were married and raised four children together.
Because of my grandfather, I have been inspired to work hard in all that I do, especially when it comes to obtaining an education. Throughout high school, I have done my best to get straight A’s and take challenging classes so that I, too, will be able to succeed during college and in a career that will both be able to support my family and change the world for the better. My younger sister seeks to follow in his footsteps by becoming an engineer, just like him, and is already taking high school courses that are preparing her for this field of work. Most importantly of all, his faith has brought the rest of his family together, and all of the lessons he learned, he taught to my mother and her siblings. Those teachings have been passed down to me and my brothers and sisters, and we continue to strive to live by the goodness we see in my grandfather’s example. He has taught me that serving others is key to living a happy life, and that even though it may not be easy or convenient to do so, it is always worth it. I am trying my best to become like him still, so that I may continue his legacy of kindness, diligence, learning, and uprightness.