My family could be the poster children for the once thriving Alcoa family.

January fourth marked exactly one year since my husband walked out of the gates at Alcoa for the last time. Thirteen days later our second child was born. Ever since then, it’s been a struggle to put the pieces of our life back together.

People say that timing is everything. Well how’s this for timing: A week before Alcoa announced its impending closure, my husband and I sat at a huge oak desk inside a brick building on Mission Street and signed the documents to purchase our very first home. It was such an exciting feeling, one that didn’t last long because eight days later that excitement turned to fear. How were we going to pay for this home? How were we going to support our toddler daughter and the growing baby boy in my tummy?

One year later and we still don’t have a definitive answer. My husband, the hardest working man I know, has done everything he can to keep us afloat, but we still haven’t found our end game yet. This man who joined the Marine Corps at 18 years old and served his country as a Machine Gunner. This man who was honorably discharged four years later, came back to his hometown of Wenatchee, and earned a degree in criminal justice. This man who was roofing a house just a couple of weeks ago, in snow and 20-degree weather because he will do whatever it takes. This loyal and dedicated man who is no doubt stressed to his core, leaves the house at 6:30 a.m. every morning to make it to his first 7 a.m. class after a night of tending to our babies who sometimes still wake up through the night.

He has taken advantage of every single opportunity that’s been placed in front of him and yet here we are, still struggling, and that’s not for lack of effort. Sometimes life just kicks you while you’re down but as my relentlessly optimistic, movie loving, “Rocky” quoting man has told me so often lately, “It ain’t about how hard you hit. It’s about how hard you can get hit, and keep moving forward. It’s how much you can take and keep moving forward. That’s how winning is done.”

Apparently, he can take the biggest hit of them all because somehow through all the trials we’ve seen in the past year he has managed to keep the smile on his face and the positivity in his heart. When I am a tearful, worried mess he stands firm in his belief that “everything is going to be OK” and he won’t stop saying it until he can see the worry disappear from my eyes. When I can’t handle one more toddler meltdown, he swoops his baby girl up in his arms and calms her down in a way that only he can. When I’m too tired to make dinner, because I’ve been dealing with demanding babies all day he somehow manages to make a gourmet meal out of the miscellaneous items still left in our cupboards. When his mom calls him because her car won’t start in the morning, he skips class to go and pick her up and drive her to work in Cashmere.

I’ve said it a million times since the day I met him 10 years ago: He’s a man among men. And when the right opportunity comes along, the company that finds him will be glad they took a chance on him because Andy Jones has always been the guy I put my money on and he’s never disappointed me yet.

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