“Proud of you.” I hear those words every day from my dad, Jim Tergin, the Father of the Mayor. Each time I hear them, I am reminded of the strength and encouragement that I receive from my dad, the kindest man I’ve ever known.

He’s the son of immigrants. He’s a little brother, who, along with his sister and their pet chicken, Mary, grew up at Tergin Apartments (which still stands at Washington and McCarty Streets, one block from the Capitol), doing anything his big sister told him to do.

My love of nature comes from Dad. If he’s not walking High Street or greeting customers, you’ll find him on the trails at the Runge or planting trees at the house. Yes, all those tiny stick trees in the yard are there on purpose. They will grow with his love and care!

I inherited his artistic talent and his store, Carrie’s Hallmark Shop, which he named after me in 1976, when I was 4 years old. What is it like to grow up in a family business? Many would think it’s easy, that everything is handed to you. It’s true that it’s not work, per se, but it gives a new meaning to taking work home. As a family business owner, you learn that the two are actually one and the same. A truly successful family business is more than the family that runs it; it’s the generations of friends and customers who become like family.

What is it really like to be part of a family business? You already know. Dad would give a piece of candy to some of our littlest customers, and now those customers come in to Carrie’s Hallmark Shop and tell that story to their own children. I am proud of you, Dad, for making an impression on generations of families.

Dad recently received a resolution from Senator Mike Kehoe, 45 years to the day that my grandfather George Tergin received one, recognizing his service as a longtime business owner. Thanks, Dad, for serving our great country in the Army, and for being a longtime Shriner and Lion’s Club member.

I hear the words “I’m proud of you” every day from Dad: at work, at home, as I’m driving down the driveway, among all of those stick trees in the yard. Those words — the pride Dad has in his mayor daughter — stick with me.

I am lucky to hear those words every day, and I never get tired of it or take it for granted. Dad means it sincerely, every single time. The pride he has in his family grows constantly, and I share that same pride in our community as mayor. His pride and belief in me ends up being shared with the entire community. Never underestimate the power of those words and the need to hear and share them!

So here’s to all the dads everywhere, those of us who are lucky to have them, and those like Dad Tergin, who is like a dad to all of Jefferson City in his role of Father of the Mayor. If you haven’t heard those words today, please know that this mayor is proud of you! #JCMO