Robert Kirk was born and raised in Oklahoma City with his older brother. His parents were blue-collar workers who lived through the Great Depression era. Kirk said they taught him to work hard and not to blame anyone else for his problems. Kirk describes them a lower middle-income family with both his dad and mom working to make ends meet. However, he knew he was loved and whatever happened, they were in it together.

After graduation from high school, Kirk entered the University of Oklahoma. During those years, the university had a freshman failure rate of 65 percent. His high school counselor and some friends had warned him that he probably wouldn't make it as a student at OU but he was determined to do so.

"I wasn't an A student but my grades were good enough to stay and I completed my degree in biology," Kirk said.

He began teaching high school and started graduate school but stopped to enlist in the Air Force. He finished Officer Training School and was chosen to attend pilot training at Vance AFB in Oklahoma. After graduating from pilot training, he was assigned a slot as an F4 Phantom pilot and was trained at George Air Force Base.

Kirk spent a year tour of duty in Vietnam and returned to fly the C-141 at Travis AFB. After five years, he left the Air Force to go back to graduate school and completed his Ph.D. at Oklahoma University. He's been teaching for more than 40 years at all levels from sixth grade through graduate school.

After retiring in 2006, Kirk was elected and served for four years on the Hesperia Unified School District School Board. This August, he will have been married to his wife Vicki for 45 years.

"We have two great sons, two fantastic daughters-in-law and three precious grandchildren," Kirk said. They've lived in the High Desert for 25 years.

Q: What is the best thing about your job?

A: The best thing is to have flexibility in my schedule. It is great having several projects going on and to be able to pick which one I want to work on that day.

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

A: I want to write several books and to help others learn to enjoy the wonders of flying.

Q: What is your greatest accomplishment, professional or personal, to date?

A: I have always wanted "to be there" for my students, my wife and family when they needed me. I think I have been able to accomplish that. It is a good thing to know that I have never "given up" on any of them.

Q: Where would you like to be in 10 years?

A: I would like to continue to grow and learn as a human being and to be a better person, husband, father and grandfather. Life can be very hard at times and it is good to able to help others through its challenges. I have certainly grown from hardship and pain and I think that enables me to help others.

Q: What makes you tick?

A: My deep Christian belief and value system are at my core. With that is a powerful work ethic and a sense that I am responsible, both good and bad, for what happens to me. I can't blame anyone else. I am steering my life's course by the decisions I make. I pray for guidance, make my decisions and trust in the results.

Q: What is the source of your values?

A: My values come from my Christian faith and the strong work ethic of my parents. I observed my father never miss a day of work even when he was so ill he could hardly get out the door. He never complained, he just did it. That was a very powerful lesson for me. My mother was just as strong and equally loving.

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

A: I have already listed my father and mother; I need to include some of my teachers in high school and in college. I was blessed with some excellent teachers who set great examples. I have to also include my wife. She is the best there is! She has always been at my side while covering my back. She has been the wingman of my life.

Q: What is your favorite quotation?

A: It has to be Winston Churchill's famous quote: "Never, never, never give up!"

Q: Tell us about your belief system.

A: I am a Christian who believes in the greatness of God and the possible goodness of man. I believe we are a product of our choices and are in large measure responsible for our own lives and what we make of ourselves. We can't control what life throws our way but we can decide how we will react to it and thus determine the paths that we will complete.

Q: What motivates you?

A: I believe in having a strong, clear value system and sticking to it in the decisions that I make. My Biblical values are at the core of my belief system and drive my choices. I make mistakes and some times fail but I keep coming back to these core values.

Q: What is the your secret to living a happy, satisfying life?

A: I believe that balance is important in living a satisfying life. We need a balance in every detail of our lives including our spiritual, physical, emotional, intellectual, and personal aspects. We are multifaceted, complex beings that must constantly adjust and balance our lives to make choices from those that are presented.

Q: What words of advice do you have for younger generations?

A: Life is hard! Get over it and make something of your life. Don't blame others for your problems or setbacks. Just make it happen! Get all the education you can get as quickly as you can. Don't let doors of opportunity close for you without taking advantage of them.

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