Blessed is an understatement when it comes to the long line of wonderful patriarchs in my life: my dad, amazing grandfathers and great-grandfather. Expressing gratitude is not just a gesture of my appreciation, but a heartfelt acknowledgment of the love, the lessons learned and the legacies they bestowed upon me.

These men, each in their unique way, have shaped my life profoundly, weaving a tapestry of memories, wisdom and unwavering faith that continues to guide me, especially as I grew older and had kids and grandkids of my own.

They were men of few words, but their actions were sufficient. From long days during hot summers riding on the tractor learning how to farm, to stopping by the full-service gas station for a fill-up and a coke and bubble gum, to the fun nights listening to some awesome bluegrass playing while singing all of our favorite hymns as a family, to the Alabama football games even on the hottest days of the season: I loved every minute of it; I loved everything I learned.

My dad, with his steady presence and unconditional love, was the cornerstone of my upbringing. From him I learned the importance of perseverance. He spent countless hours teaching me practical skills, pushing me to keep moving at every milestone, and offering a shoulder on which to lean. His life is a testament to the power of hard work and compassion, showing me that true strength lies in humility and dedication.

Each of these men embody a wealth of experience and a lifetime of stories, and all were a source of inspiration and guidance. Their tales of overcoming adversity, their wisdom in times of uncertainty and their joy in the simple things have enriched my life immeasurably.

They taught me to value heritage and to draw strength from it, knowing that such is what binds us. Their lessons, often imparted in the quiet moments of harvesting the garden, sharing a meal or watching them work taught me to appreciate the beauty of life’s journey and the importance of staying true to myself.

My great-grandfathers, though I knew them mainly through the stories passed down, have also left a legacy. They were men of great character, resilience and faith. Their lives, marked by trials and triumphs, have become a source of respect and admiration. From them, I inherited a deep-seated belief in the importance of family and faith. Their legacy is a reminder of the enduring power of love and the strength of the human spirit.

But among all the invaluable lessons these remarkable men have imparted, the most significant is the importance of faith. Through their examples, I learned to place my trust in God, finding solace and strength in my beliefs. Each one demonstrated that faith is not merely a matter of ritual, but a living, breathing part of daily life. It is a source of comfort in times of sorrow, a beacon of hope in moments of despair and an overwhelming amount of gratitude in times of joy.

Their unwavering faith has been a guiding light, helping to light my path and to navigate the complicated moments of life with grace and confidence. As I reflect on the memories and lessons shared by my dad, grandfathers and great-grandfathers, I am filled with such a sense of gratitude.

Their love, wisdom and faith have been the bedrock upon which my life is built. They have shown me that true wealth lies not in material possessions, but in the richness of relationships and the strength of character.

Their legacy is a precious gift, one that I cherish deeply and strive to honor in my own life. In saying thank you to these remarkable men, I am not only acknowledging their influence on my life, but also celebrating the enduring bonds of family and the timeless values they have passed down.

Their love, their lessons and their faith have shaped me into the person I am today, and for that, I am eternally grateful. Dad, “thank you” will never be enough!

Ashley Carter is a wife, mother, and grandmother living in Elmore County, where she and her husband run Farm to Table Living and Carter Farms. She is the author of "Unexplainable: Inspirational Stories of God's Love in the Most Unique Ways." Ashley serves as Controller and Executive Assistant at 1819 News. To connect with the author of this story or to comment, email

Don't miss out! Subscribe to our newsletter and get our top stories every weekday morning.