Living Connected: Reflecting on Father's Day

With Father's Day, for many it can be a time to reflect, especially for those of us whose parent is no long with us.

I lost my stepfather, Jack Duane Devine, when I was 31 years old. I've found we can learn so much about the lives of our loved ones through the eyes of others.

As a young man who had served in Army and then went to college my father found his lifelong inspiration in the 1960s Kennedy era. President John F. Kennedy had called on his brother-in-law Sargent Shriver to create the Peace Corps.

It was during the tensions with the Soviet Union and decolonization in many countries. The goal was to share American ideals in service in foreign countries.

A young Jack Devine would be among the 14,000 Americans who would become a Peace Corps volunteer during the first six years of the Peace Corps. He’d spend two years as a teacher in a remote village in Tanzania, Africa.

This year, I felt a hunger to know more about my stepfather's incredible life journey a continent away. He'd married my mother when I was three years old and adopted me. My mother too had been in the Peace Corps, in Rio de Janeiro, Brazil.

RELATED: Christine Devine shares her mother's stories through eyes of those who knew her

I called on Jamie Price the author of The Call: The Spiritual Realism of Sargent Shriver for perspective. Price, is also the founding director of the Shriver Peace Institute. Time Magazine called the Peace Corps, the US ideal abroad. Price called it a chance for young Americans a chance to "really to make a difference."

I sifted through a stack of letters my stepfather he'd written to his parents Winnemucca, Nevada. One read, "I have not met any of the anti-American hostility that I was expecting."

Another letter read "we hope to get eight of the forty pupils into secondary school, which is pretty good."

Shriver was married to Eunice Kennedy. In our FOX 11 archives I stumbled upon a clip of Shriver daughter, California former First Lady Maria Shriver, speaking about her father in 2008. "It gave me goosebumps to see everyone stand who has served in a program that daddy started."

Maria would marry actor and fitness champion Arnold Schwarzenegger. In an interview with my colleague Elex Michaelson, he too reflected on Shriver's vision and message of service.

We know our time on this planet as humans is not forever. President Kennedy was assassinated in 1963, as Peace Corps volunteers were serving across the globe.

As for my father, he’d become a longtime educator in Arizona and foster and adoptive parent. He lost his life in a scuba diving accident at the age of 60 in 1997. Sargent Shriver lived a long life. He was 95 when he passed away in 2011. Shriver's legacy lives on in other programs he spirited through, Job Corps, Vista, Upward Bound, and Head Start. My father had also been a teacher for Job Corps.

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