It doesn’t make sense to hire smart people and tell them what to do; we hire smart people so they can tell us what to do. (Steve Jobs)
A Purdue educated engineer, Mitchell Volpe is now gainfully employed as a mechanical engineer and is living in Chandler, Arizona. He’s pictured here with his beautiful and absolutely incredible (and faith-filled) mom, Karen. He’s the younger brother of William and Samantha and the son to Mark and Karen Volpe. I couldn’t resist the Steve Jobs quote because Mitch is absolutely the kind of person Jobs was speaking of when he said it!
Today, as I filed into the parking lot full of cars at St. Louis de Montfort Catholic School for the very last carpool experience after 16 years, I couldn’t help but think of Mitch. You see, this big smarty pants was one of my very FIRST carpool kiddos. He has long since moved on, but I have still been in that parking lot all this time Mitch!! Ha!!? That’s a tad crazy, isn’t it?
When I first met this kiddo, he was a kindergartener. We had two small boys and Mitch was our new neighbor. He spotted us unloading our moving trucks and he parked himself on the garage floor and began reading “Winnie the Pooh” to my 4 year old, Nick, who was mesmerized. He was only 5 or 6 at the time himself, but he was sharp as a tack and completely polite. He’s a lot taller now, but not much else has changed. He’s still the same character filled young man.
During some of his formative years, his mom was awfully sick. I recall having many conversations with Mitch over that time that make me look back and smile. For example, I recall the Volpe fridge often being full to the brim with casseroles that friends brought to help the family cope through moments of struggle. Karen never said no, because she knows that giving is a gift to the giver too. This particular day, though, Mitchell was in maybe grade 4 or 5 and he had JUST ABOUT ENOUGH of chicken casserole. From the front passenger seat of my minivan he looked at me and said, “I don’t mean to be rude but I just can’t eat one more of those casserole things today, Mrs. Thieme.” I giggled at his honesty and marveled at how smartly he handled his predicament. I asked him what sounded good and he immediately said, “Subway!” So, we went and grabbed Subway sandwiches, and his handsome little grin was my reward. The kid just has the most beautiful smile. I know, I know, he’s a grown man now. He’s still that cherub faced boy to me, and probably he always will be!
Mitch was the bartender at Nick’s HS graduation party and he stayed until all hours working his tail off for us. He went above and beyond the call of duty keeping our guests in cold beverages all evening! His work ethic is impressive but also he’s truly brilliant. A talented musician, he’s kind, quick-witted and authentic. Mitchell is not a man to be underestimated. He’s incredibly competent at everything he tries, but also he can joke around and he knows how to have fun. There’s just not one mediocre thing about Mitchell Volpe. I have always respected him, from the very moment he showed up in my garage. He just does what he does…stunningly well. He’s a loving son and a terrific brother to Will and Sam. TODAY is his birthday so I wanted to celebrate him with a few affirming words. HAPPY BIRTHDAY, MITCH!! All of the Thiemes think you are THE REAL DEAL, kid! BOILER UP!!