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The Day Dean Alfange Changed My Life...

Story ID:7280
Written by:Charles Dishno (bio, contact, other stories)
Story type:Story
Location:Dillon Montana USA
Year:2011
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The Day Dean Alfange Changed My Life…
By Chuck Dishno

The Korean War had ended and I had just completed a two-year hitch in the US Army. I was married with 1 child and desperately needed job.

I went back to work at a Chevron gas station where I had worked before being drafted. I worked there for about a year but knew that I couldn’t be “pump jockey” for the rest of my life so my search went out for a better paying job, hopefully one with a future.

I had a friend who worked for Fresno County as an engineer and he told me of a position being advertised in the county printing department and they were giving tests for the job the next week.

I had never done any printing except running a mimeograph in high school but I did have another friend who was a printer in a large print shop. I told him of the up-coming test and he gave me a crash course in the basic of printing.

Either the other 23 applicants were really dumb or I was really smart. I do think the former was the case though as I bluffed my way through the test and came out number one for the job.

I started my new job two weeks later and began to learn the printing business. I was a fast learner but after a year it became very boring. Just sitting in a corner with a small printing press running thousands of boring copy. There really was not much to do except watch it run and load paper when needed.

This gave me about 40 minutes of doing virtually nothing and as I have never been one to sit idle, I took up origami as I had lots of paper to fold into intricate forms. Even this became boring after a while and being an avid reader I started reading everything insight.

One day I picked up a printing journal and it fell open to a piece written by Dean Alfange. As soon as I read it I knew that there had to be a better life for me out there. Here is what I read:

“My Creed” by Dean Alfange.

I do not choose to be a common man.
It is my right to be uncommon—if I can. I seek opportunity—not security. I do not wish to be a kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me. I want to take the calculated risk; to dream and to build, to fail and to succeed.

I refuse to barter incentive for a dole. I prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence; the thrill of fulfillment to the still calm of utopia.

I will not trade freedom for beneficence nor my dignity for a handout. I will never cower before any master nor bend to any threat.

It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done.

All this is what it means to be an American.


I really took this to heart and made a copy then memorized it. I carried copies in my wallet for years. To me this said it all….

I was the one who wanted to seek “opportunity – not security” – I knew I would never be a “kept citizen, humbled and dulled by having the state look after me”. I knew I could and would take the “calculated risk” where I could “dream and build or fail or succeed”. That was up to me and no one else. I would always “prefer the challenges of life to the guaranteed existence and the thrill of fulfillment to the stale calm of utopia”. I will “never trade my dignity for a handout nor bend to any threat”.

I truly believe that as Mr. Alfange said, “It is my heritage to stand erect, proud and unafraid; to think and act for myself, enjoy the benefit of my creations and to face the world boldly and say, this I have done”.

This really is what it means to be and American.

Over the next 55 years that is the way I led my life. I have put in 42 years in the printing business, 30 of those years as my own business. I have had a photography business, been Governor on the Montana District of Kiwanis and held several district offices. I have belonged to many civic organizations and been a public speaker.

None of these things could have been accomplished if I had not read Dean Alfange’s “My Creed” and hoisted myself up by my bootstraps and made things happen.

Too many people think our government owes them a living and live for entitlements. I say BULL! Go out and make something happen. Don’t just sit and cry about it.

All this is what makes us Americans!

Thank you, Mr. Alfange!