Dan Tate is the oldest of four siblings, raised by a single mom who had four children at 24. She instilled in her kids that anything was possible, and that they were as deserving as the next person.


He attended 13 different schools and lived in three different states. He grew up in mostly minority-dominated neighborhoods and learned early on that he would have to stand up for himself, which meant he grew up fighting his way to and from school, being suspended and expelled from school a dozen times.


Dan met Patti in college and it was love at first sight. They had their first son at 21 and were married in 1985 when they moved to Apple Valley, where Patti taught English at Lucerne Valley Middle School and then Apple Valley High School. Dan worked as a group supervisor at a mountain work camp for Los Angeles County Probation Friday to Monday, and worked as a real estate agent Monday through Friday for Major Realty in Hesperia. Real estate was so successful that he was able to quit his job with L.A. County Probation to work in real estate full time and Patti was able to quit her teaching position to stay home and raise their three children.


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Q: Describe a special memory you have in Hesperia/Oak Hills.


A: When our niece died in 2002, the tri-communities were overwhelmingly compassionate, offering support in many ways. Faced with a difficult thing such as a young girl's death, the community reached out and embraced our family with love and concern of a close family.


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Q: What do you do in your free time?


A: I founded the Don Ferrarese Charitable Foundation in 2005 so a great deal of my time is spent raising money and planning our events. My wife and I also started a charity, Sara's Hope "It's a Wonderful World" Charitable Foundation, in memory of our niece who died in her senior year in high school. I coached 62 soccer, baseball and football teams which were big parts of our lives. Our family is big into hiking and we enjoy exploring the many trails in the Victor Valley. Personally, I enjoy reading biographies and history books. I've also been known to get involved in politics.


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Q: Tell us one thing that most people don't know about you.


A: I cry at the movies and at those AT&T commercials. I recently completed my autobiography, "The Paperboy," and I graduated honor-man from Marine Corps boot camp.


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Q: If you could change one thing about the world, what would it be?


A: I would get people to be more tolerant of another's position and views. I would take God out of the equation for determining what is right and wrong, and get people to focus on the Golden Rule.


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Q: What person, living or from history, would you most like to have dinner with and why?


A: Mother Teresa. She advocated helping just one — if we can't feed a thousand, then feed just one. I'd want to understand her equilibrium and understanding of just doing what one can and being content for that day. I would want to understand how to let go of the little things in life that zap us of so much energy and those things we cannot control. I would want to gain an insight as to living a life where I know that my life made a change and made a difference in others.


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Q: Who is someone who had a big influence on your life?


A: I have three: Tom Trammel, my first football coach. Coach Trammel did not have any kids on the team. He would allow us to earn our positions by challenging any starter. We would get into a pit and the last one standing got the position. His lessons taught me that life is about effort.


Secondly, my wife's parents are my heroes. I have the greatest respect for them and they have in fact had the greatest influence on my life. They raised five children in a small, two-bedroom, one-bath home, sleeping on the couch so their kids would have a bed. Mr. Chavez rode his bike to work so he could save enough money to send all five children to Catholic high school. Mr. and Mrs. Chavez have showed me what being a real parent is about, and demonstrated that the most important things in life are one's family.


And lastly, my wife Patti has made all of the difference in my life. Without her unconditional love and support, I could not be half the man I am today. I tell her every day that I wish I could be more like her.


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Q: What talent do you most wish you had?


A: I would love to be able to sing. I find that those who can sing communicate a universal language understood by every person.


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Q: What words of advice do you have for the next generation?


A: Take personal responsibility for what you do and don't do. Look in the mirror to find the answers you are seeking. The opportunities are greater than ever for those who will sacrifice and dedicate themselves to a cause and a passion. Be careful about what you covet; you might just get it. Establish your values based upon what makes you happy, not your family or your friends. Do not be afraid to fail. Take risks and experience life. And finally, surround yourself with those of whom you would like to be more like. Resist the temptation to criticize and make excuses. If something is worth having, it is worth you working your butt off to get it.


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Q: Tell us about the charities or causes that are close to your heart and why.


A: Homefront America (www.homefrontamerica.org) is very dear to our family. They offer support services to the families of our deployed Troops. I am passionate about the Don Ferrarese Charitable Foundation. We award $40,000 in scholarships annually to college bound high desert students based solely upon their community and charitable efforts. We also sponsor an annual Veteran's Holiday Tribute serving 1,000 of our American heroes with a free lunch and patriotic tribute. The Salvation Army also holds a spot in my heart as they took care of our family when we were stranded in San Antonio, Texas. They housed us, fed us and then bought Amtrak tickets to send us back to California.


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Q: What is something you are particularly proud of?


A: Being a father. My dad walked out on my mom and his four kids before we were in school. It has been my life mission to be the father that I did not have. Raising our three children has been a life worth living over a thousand times. Being successful at work, allowed Patti to stay at home and be with the kids. Our oldest son, Joshua, graduated college with master's degree in education; our daughter, Sade, graduated with a master's degree in psychology and is pursuing her doctorates degree; and our youngest son, Seth, is a sophomore at the University of San Diego.


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Q: What's your favorite movie and why?


A: "Braveheart." Sir William Wallace had the choice of living a life and abdicating his personal principles, or living a life based upon acting on his principles. He chose the hard way. He chose a cause much bigger than himself. He chose to make a difference and dedicated himself to others for not his personal gain, but for a change that would forever affect the way his countrymen lived.


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Q: Tell us about your favorite thing about living in Hesperia/Oak Hills?


A: The neighbors. There is that front porch mentality where everyone is welcoming and hospitable. Lending themselves to help when needed, an invitation to come over for a beer or barbecue. I love the sunsets and star filled nights. I enjoy the quail running through the yard every morning.


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Q: Tell us about one thing you want to accomplish in life.


A: I would love to celebrate my 50th wedding anniversary with Patti. We are at 26 now. Getting married at 21, we have grown up together and built an incredible friendship. Nothing could bring me more happiness than sharing the rest of my life with her.


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Q: What's your favorite place to eat in Hesperia/Oak Hills?


A: Other than Patti's, The Outpost Café. Great food, great waitresses.


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Q: What's your favorite guilty pleasure?


A: Aside from Salma Hayek, a scotch before bed every night puts me to sleep, and watching "Boardwalk," "Dexter" or "Homeland."