Growing up as an African-American man in the U.S has never been a walk in the park, but what has kept me “sane” are the lessons my Grandfather taught me.
My Grandfather’s name was Chris Leftenant, Sr. He was born in Goose Creek, South Carolina in 1914. He was 1 of 13 children. My Grandad, with his parents, eventually migrated to Amityville, NY to gain academic and economic opportunities.
Well in 1967, he established Breezy Point Yacht Club, the very first black-owned Yacht Club in Amityville, NY. His passion for boating and people made this dream a reality. He was also married for 57 years to my grandmother and they had 3 children, who all excelled in their own ways (law enforcement and education).
My Grandfather showed me what’s possible through self-belief, unconditional love, and being passionate about your goals.
I can still remember how my Grandfather treated EVERYONE with love, had immense discipline, and always took care of people. I also have memories of my brother and me sitting on his lap, watching the Mets play, and him yelling at the T.V in-between bites of his favorite dinner, Pepper Steak.
My Grandfather showed me the blueprint of creating an impactful business. I witnessed his success through his steadfastness, diligence, and discipline. His daily routine began when his internal alarm clock woke him up and he would begin his day, always happy.
He would put on his tennis shoes (as he called them), and take a morning walk.
Whenever I had the chance to, I would take the walk with him- it should’ve taken 15 minutes, but he had to say hello TO EVERYONE (lol).
He showed me how to be disciplined. You do “X” every day or the time you said, even if you don’t feel like it. You still do it.
He also loved people unconditionally; I knew this because he spoke highly of everyone and always had visitors.
His principles of discipline and unconditional love are things I will always remember as a 31-year-old black man. Chris Leftenant, Sr. NEVER gave up, he fought through tons of adversity as a black entrepreneur to build several businesses, including the Yacht Club.
He always had a warm smile and loved his tennis rackets.
When I think of an incredible role model, who contributed to this world, I think of my Granddad.
May 3, 1998, he passed away …..and it was heartbreaking for EVERYONE, but he made sure his family was good, so he can R.I.P.
Chris Leftenant Sr. was a real-life hero for me. There are not enough words or time to describe the feeling of awesomeness he created for everyone.
Grandad set the bar very high (lol), the lessons he taught me around discipline and unconditional love are with me forever.
My Grandfather was the MAN and I am forever grateful for the time I had with him.
If you thought about quitting, I hope this changed your mind. As my Grandfather said Never give Up!