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Thanksgiving week seems like the perfect time for me to stop for a moment and give thanks to two people that I’m extremely grateful to have in my life.  They have both played a huge part in my journey into the gun world.

First, I’d like to thank my father-in-law, Big Jimmy who served as my personal tour guide through the gun industry during my graduate project–a Strategic Plan for Opening My Own Gun Store.

I can remember very vividly meeting my future father in law for the first time almost 20 years ago.  Let me see…how should I describe him…he’s like Ted Nugent but looks like Bill Mosley’s character in The Devil’s Rejects with a more bushy beard…I wish I had a side by side picture to show you and you’d see the uncanny resemblance.

When we sat down for dinner the first thing he did was take his 10mm Colt Delta Elite  and put in on the table.  Being that I didn’t grow up in a house with guns I was absolutely horrified.  Then as if that wasn’t terrifying enough he took his fork and scratched his beard with it while he was talking to us.  I thought he was crazy!  At that point I had no idea why anyone would ever want or need a gun in a million years. I mean didn’t he know that the police were here to save us and that we live in a town where crime could never happened? I’m inserting a brief pause here for you to roll your eyes at me.   Over the years we probably had no fewer than a hundred arguments over hunting and anything else having to do with firearms.

I remember calling him crazy, a Bambi killer, and a red neck amongst other unkind things. I was passionate that guns were bad but had no facts to back my bias up. Unlike me, he stayed calm and never gave up on me, never disrespected me, and never even called me names.  How he kept his cool I’ll never know.

Fast forward to a little over 2 years ago when we decided to get our pistol permit.  He was SO excited!  He brought over no fewer than 5 guns to the house to show me how they all worked.

Then last fall when I was trying to decide on a topic for my graduate project, I called him one day and asked him what he thought of me doing my capstone project on opening a gun shop.  He was immediately on board basically saying we can never have enough gun shops and that he would help me in whatever way he could.  When I began doing gun industry research Big Jimmy was there.  When I had questions about any gun topic, issue, or law, or didn’t understand something, he was always there to answer whatever it was.

Each section of the project I finished I sent to him, he’d read it and give me feedback.  When I needed to come up with a complete inventory plan he brought me over his wholesaler books.  Every step of the way he supported me, boosted my confidence which really helped to further energized me and make me continue to keep moving forward in this journey into the gun world.

This is Big Jimmy at the range on Father’s Day.  I’m sorry that you can’t see his long grey hair and beard better.  I love him very much and will be forever in debt for his patience and support.

The second person that I’d like to take a moment to thank is my husband.  I love this man more than anything in the world.  He not only supported my project, he still thinks that we should move forward and actually make it happen.  I keep telling him we will as soon as we hit the lottery!

During the entire time that I was in graduate school he was amazing.  He stepped up to help clean, cook, and pretty much everything else while my nose was in books, doing research and writing papers.  He was also kind enough to be the proofreader of ALL of my papers not just my gun project ones.

When I was nervous about using Walther and going to the range, he had me practice to get more comfortable.  He comes with me to the range, he backed me when I said I wanted to start a ladies shooting group up at the range, and has been 100% supportive of my becoming an instructor.  I appreciate his love and support.

I gave my husband a great birthday present when I called to let him know that I was contacted by the school to let me know that I was one of two students selected out of the entire MBA graduating class to come back and give our presentation to the incoming MBA students this fall.

What an honor, I was so proud and know that both my husband and Big Jimmy were too.  They no doubt played a huge part in the success of my project, I’m so grateful to them.

The icing was going back this fall and giving the presentation.  I was very nervous.  I wasn’t sure how the topic would go over; I practiced the PowerPoint for days and.  Once I got up there in front of everyone, I looked out into the audience and there my husband sat with a smile.  That small gesture gave me the confidence boost I needed and I couldn’t wait to tell the students about the gun industry and the business plan I came up with.

There were two great parts of the evening.  First, when the professor said that our projects were “the best of the best”.  Holy cow!  The college is telling me that my gun store project rocks?  Who knew that was even possible? Second, when done with the presentation women kept coming up to me saying they wanted to get together to shoot with me and loved the project because they felt and were treated the same exact way when they went shopping for their first firearm.

Seriously, how awesome is that?  I’m so happy that my husband came to me about getting a pistol permit, it literally changed my life.  This journey is nowhere near being over but I have to say a gigantic THANK YOU to both my husband and my father-in-law for everything they have done to have my back. Their love and support means the world to me and I wanted you all to know it!