JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press

Table of Contents Character Summaries
Next Chapter –>

.

Chapter 1:

Franklin Falcon

Monday: About 8:30 a.m. MST
(Loveland, Colorado)


LISTEN to this Chapter HERE:

.
Franklin Falcon sat with his head in his hands, Angela Liu’s application on the top of the pile in front of him. How could things have turned ugly so quickly? It was as if he had somehow entered into someone else’s life— and his own life had evaporated spontaneously. Normally a confident man, Franklin was just barely functioning as the news from within his organization continued to worsen. He’d seen tough times before, but through hard work, determination, and self-reliance, he’d developed a massive list of past successes and a long list of A players in the world as former clients.

But this was different than anything he’d experienced before. Far different.

“Their expectations are unreasonable,” he said in a strained whisper to no one in particular. He’d begun talking to himself as he sat at his desk, somehow expecting a solution to form from the thoughts floating above him. Minutes passed. When his hoped-for answer didn’t appear, he shouted, “They just aren’t playing by the rules!” The volume and ferocity of his last statement surprised even him—as if a great balloon had been punctured, and the sudden release of air pressure created a far louder-than-expected explosion. His assistant of nearly 11 years, Behrokh Aghassi (most people called her Betty), cautiously opened his door and peered in.

“Is there anything I can do for you, Mr. Falcon?” she asked, hoping to hear his normal, optimistic answer of “Thank you, Betty. All will be well.”

She’d heard that statement from him hundreds of times: All will be well.

“Betty, please clear my calendar for today and for tomorrow morning. I need some time to think; Jo and I are going to the cabin.”

Betty blushed slightly as she realized she’d been staring open-mouthed at Franklin’s response. “Oh, yes, certainly, Mr. Falcon. Right away.” She hurried to her desk, trying to think of a plausible story she could use to express Mr. Falcon’s regrets at canceling his appointments. She was not having much luck.

“$80 million . . . might as well be $80 trillion. There’s no way we can find that much money in less than a month,” Franklin muttered to himself as he dialed Jo’s cell phone. He needed her counsel. Through the 55 years they’d been married, she was the only person to whom he confided everything.

Franklin Falcon, born Ferencz Solyom in 1935, had an early life full of change and uncertainty. His family emigrated from their native Hungary to Ohio in the late 1930s to escape the growing tyranny of the Nazi empire. Even though his father, Henrik, was a skilled carpenter and his mother, Ibolya, was a highly competent administrator in their homeland, the language and cultural barriers the Solyom family encountered in their adopted home forced Franklin’s parents to work at menial jobs for low wages for many years. However, because they were committed to succeeding, they were willing to take some extreme measures to do so. Within the first year, his parents made the difficult decision to change their family name of “Solyom” to the English translation of “Falcon” and to translate all of their given names as well. Thus, Franklin’s parents became Henry and Violet Falcon, and their children, Ferencz and Karola, became Franklin and Caroline.

Even in the face of their crushing financial struggles as a family, Franklin thrived in America and was the first member of his family to complete a college education. He discovered he had a passion and aptitude for engineering, and his high school teachers encouraged him to apply for several scholarships. He eventually received a full scholarship in civil engineering from Colorado State University in Fort Collins. Upon graduation, he rose rapidly among his peers in civil engineering, working for a large Midwestern engineering and construction company designing innovations to public infrastructure. Eventually, he specialized in compact, affordable water treatment systems, ultimately receiving a patent on a ground-breaking design to eliminate bacterial contamination (E. coli, Salmonella, etc.) from entering the water supply in small, rural water treatment systems. He became a mini-celebrity in the world of water treatment and found himself earning princely sums of money as a result.

Ferencz Solyom was the embodiment of success in the American Dream sort of way. Through a combination of hard work, self-reliance, determination, along with some luck, some help, and a good idea, he found himself labeled a success. But, living as Franklin Falcon, he also never forgot his roots. After witnessing the challenges his parents had overcome and leveraging the strong sense of optimism and work ethic their example set for him, he knew success—on its own—was a hollow ambition and that true significance in life came from enabling others to reach their dreams. Even as a young man just starting in his career, he became driven to provide opportunities to other immigrant families. He became expert at building relationships, raising money, encouraging commitment, and inspiring success in others.

During his undergraduate college career, he’d fallen in love with the Front Range of Colorado, so he moved back to Loveland—a small city of about 65,000 located between Denver and Fort Collins—to create his foundation, the Falcon Foundation for Families. Loveland was a perfect spot to find highly educated, motivated, and altruistic staff members; it was close enough to Denver International Airport (DIA) to allow travel to or from most anywhere; and the weather was a vast improvement over what he’d experienced in his native Hungary and in Cincinnati where he’d grown up. Franklin soon became addicted to the 300+ sunny days each year in Loveland.

But . . . today . . . he found himself lost and confused. Maybe some time with Jo at their cabin would make the future seem brighter. Maybe.
.
.

Table of Contents Character Summaries
Next Chapter –>

JUMP! – Get Unstuck, © 2010, Robert S. Tipton, All Rights Reserved, Alden-Swain Press