This is a long, sappy post so you've been warned.

12 years ago, I began the greatest journey imaginable. I was a high school kid with no career aspirations. I had no clue what I wanted to do with my life, I just knew that I really, really liked to talk. Trust me, my high school teachers can attest to that.

When I was 16, I made several MySpace rap songs making fun of a rival high school. They were terrible songs, but somehow, they caught the attention of Gary McCoy. A short time later, I'm sitting in his office, interviewing for a chance to work for my favorite radio station, K945. In fact, once our interview was over, he asked me if I had any questions for him... I said, "Yes, do you think I can meet Robert J Wright?" I grew up listening to Robert every single morning on what was then The Big Dog 94.5.

I knew very quickly after starting work that I wanted to do this forever.

In the last 12 years, my life has changed drastically, and K945 and my work family have been the only constant in my life since I was a sophomore in high school. My job means so much more than a paycheck to me. I've always considered myself lucky to have it and lucky to experience the true magic of radio on a daily basis. My job has given me so much more than anything money can buy. My job has connected me with so many amazing people, people that I will always love and friendships I will always cherish.

My job has saved my life. A year and a half ago, I found myself in the deepest depression imaginable. I have no doubt at all that if it wasn't for my job I would not be here today. That's what I love the most about what I do. My job brings me immense happiness, and it is a constant reminder to me of what matters most. No, it's not "the listeners", it's so much more than that.

It's the relationships.

It's the six-year-old girl that wants a picture at a Mudbugs game. It's a young student battling with depression himself and reaching out for help. It's the hundreds of people that come up every weekend at the club and say hello. It's the cashier that recognizes my voice and treats me with a smile. It's the thousands of children that receive Christmas gifts every year through Operation Santa Claus. It's the mom who asks me to give a shout out to her young daughter who's going through a rough time. It's the young boy who's football jersey accidentally comes in with his name incorrectly spelled "Whatley" instead of "Whaley" but he chooses to keep it anyways.

It's two beautiful girls who are proud to have a radio DJ for a dad.

A few weeks ago, I was asked if the high school version of me would be proud of how he turned out. I believe in my heart that he would be proud to see the work he has done, the relationships he has made, and the dad that he became.

Here are some of my favorite pictures over the past twelve years. If you have any you would like to share, please do!

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