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Almost First Family

April 25, 2020


      ‘Almost First Family’ life rolls on…


As the previous “Family” section notes, we had moved from Bluffton, Ohio, to Steubenville, Ohio, where my wife had gotten a job with Franciscan University in 2016.  (Franciscan U. is one of, if not the, strongest Catholic colleges in the country.  

At the end of the first year, Liz was doing exceedingly well at FUS as a Major Gift Officer, and our oldest kids, Sarah and Joseph, were doing quite well there as students as well.

However, our youngest son, Jonathan, was struggling a bit in Steubenville.  He had grown up in Bluffton and had a strong circle of friends there.  (This had been an important anchor for him because the first part of his life had been spent primarily on the road with all of us.)

So, after some prayerful discernment, Liz and I decided Jonathan and I would move back to Bluffton for his high school years.  And we would, basically, commute back and forth on some weekends, holidays, and such.  That has, actually, worked quite well -- for the most part.

Jonathan has excelled in Bluffton.  The bond between his circle of friends has strengthened.  He’s active with the Catholic church youth group here.  He’s regularly on the Honor Roll, recently won a Journalism Award, and is quite an artist.  He’s gone to State in both track and Soccer.  (He was even named Second Team All-State in soccer.)  He’s just completing his junior year as I write this.



Sarah graduated from Franciscan University in 2017.  She majored in social work and minored in basketball and soccer.  She had quite a collegiate athletic career, actually.  She was named “Newcomer of the Year” for basketball in the Allegheny Mountain Collegiate League as a freshman, for instance.  And her senior year, her soccer team (she played middle back defender) went to the League Championship Game for the first time in school history.  

Off the field, Sarah did social work internship out in the field doing in home case management, and she later did another social work internship at a local prison.  (Both were invaluable experiences.)

After a brief period away from school, Sarah then enrolled in an online Masters of Social Work Program with Aurora University.  And she just graduated from there (2020), with honors.  Sarah is currently working at Franciscan University in the Athletic Department.

Sarah will also be married this summer to a former fellow Franciscan University student, Gabe Salamida.  Gabe majored in Education, graduated from Franciscan U. the same year as Sarah, and initially worked as a theology instructor at a Jesuit high school in Baton Rouge, Louisiana.  He has recently, that’s right, taken a position at Franciscan University as well.



Our son Joseph is in his senior year at Franciscan U. as I type this.  He’s majoring in business.  He was also captain on the FUS basketball team his senior year.

Joseph played shooting guard, was one of the top scorers on the team, and is thinking about, perhaps, playing pro-basketball in Europe or New Zealand (my wife Liz is from New Zealand) after graduation.



Liz has now been a Major Gift Officer at Franciscan University for four years.  She travels the country extensively (something she’s used to from all the campaign travels.)  She meets with alumnus, with corporate representatives, and so on, soliciting donations for the university.

What’s more, she’s been on a number of committees at FUS over the years, and is helping head up a Women’s Speaker’s Bureau.  And during this time, she has also been working on a Masters in Business through Franciscan.

She has an undergraduate degree in Agricultural Science and was a public relations consultant in New Zealand before coming to America.



That would be me. 

As mentioned earlier, I’m back in Bluffton doing the parenting thing with Jonathan.  I also write for the local newspaper.  And I’m a house painter by trade.  (“Joe the Painter”).

When I’m not doing this stuff, late at night I’m doing yet more reading and research for my presidential platform.  And on the weekends (and on the way to Jon’s high school sporting events), I also stump in towns throughout northwest, Ohio.  My SuperPac with the million-dollar TV ads hasn’t’ kicked in yet.  Go figure.

And, okay, it isn’t Mar-a-Lago, but our home on Jefferson Street near the downtown here is nice enough.  I even have enough room in the backyard to almost hit a full wedge – so there Donald!

Populist?  With a capital P.

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