The recent Valpo Life in the Spotlight really can’t be given to just one person this week; it really belongs to a pair: Steve and Julie Dalton. They were selected for their passion, drive and commitment they have to their family and this community.
Mr. Dalton spoke about when they first moved to Valpo saying, “The first ten years we lived here we still felt like we were away from home. Greenwood, IN was home, that’s where Julie and I are from. We even felt like moving back but then our kids (Michael, Patrick, Daniel and Megan) started to get involved in everything from their involvement in church activities (Church of the Nazarene), to academics, sports and band. That’s when Valpo became ‘their’ home.”
He continued, “I admit we were still struggling and kept thinking about moving back but about four years ago Patrick joined the cross country team and I started re-playing my teenage years in my mind and we decided that Valpo was ‘our’ home. And for at least three of our kids running was a big deal. Julie and I felt like we could help build memories and even maybe help build the program (Valparaiso High School Cross Country) by becoming more involved.”
Taking on the role of Cross Country Parents in 2011, a role that is usually taken for just one year, the Daltons have organized the families with emails, newsletters, juggled snacks, carpool as well as whose turn it was to bring the cold-towel coolers to the next meet. They have kept parents and team members fully informed from the annual family picnic to the reservations at the hotel for the State Meet.
Duane Davison, fellow cross country parent commented, “Being here for our children is not about caring about what time they ran, it’s that they (Landon and Camden) remember we were there to support them. Steve and Julie are out supporting their kids in all that they do, it’s not just about athletics, it’s about being involved and just being there is very helpful for our children.”
Cross country is not all that the Dalton’s are involved with. Mr. and Mrs. Dalton balance family, school and church as well as work, while staying fully involved in the community. Steve has spent time as Chair of the Costas campaign in 2003 for Mayor Jon Costas as well as various statewide and local campaigns.
Mr. Dalton said, “I remain connected and involved so that I can give back to the community my family calls home.”
When asked if life seemed overly busy trying to run a family, run a business and be involved with church and kids events, Mr. Dalton said, “Frankly, I am enjoying this phase in life more than any other.”
Mrs. Dalton too has taken an active role working in the school system, not just cheering their kids on from the sidelines.
She said, “My kids being involved in the school programs like band, sports and Science Olympiad is what made me want to work in the schools. It has afforded me the flexibility with my family and has made it more meaningful. The more you get plugged in, the more your community comes together.”
Mrs. Dalton added, “We have always put academics first and I think it shows in our kids. Being involved with cross country is like a family for us; everything we are involved in with our kids, sports, band and Science Olympiad is just enriching.”
Megan, 7th grader at Ben Franklin, and the daughter of Mr. and Mrs. Dalton explained that the involvement of her parents means a great deal saying, “I think it’s a good thing [that my parents are so involved] because I like when they support me. When they just show up it feels like a lot of support.”
Mr. Dalton made sure to give credit to where their family draws their strength and that is God.
Mr. Dalton said, “God has blessed us with a family, a home and a community that we want to give back to. To us involvement isn’t an option. As individuals we’ve committed our lives to Jesus who admonished us to live the church through our daily lives and we want to represent him.”
Mrs. Dalton said, “Steve is very supportive and always asks me ‘What do you want to do?’ and that support is mutual because we work together when it comes to everything we do.”
Can you do more? Can I? The example of Steve and Julie Dalton being out in the community fully involved and remaining positive, inspires me and that is why Steve and Julie Dalton are Valpo Lives in the Spotlight.