From Father to Son

Ernest Lamour

President & CEO, Ridgewood YMCA

Who is your favorite role model in life?

My father by far. He set so many great examples for me in my life to follow. I was one of six children that he raised on his own from when I was 8 after we moved here from Haiti, all while working three jobs. He never complained and never called out of work. I learned about work ethic, commitment, love, trust and dedication from my dad. He always stressed the importance of education, God, treating people with respect and being honest.

What is the best lesson you’ve learned in life so far?

Don’t give up or cave in when faced with adversity. Adversity builds character, and through my adversities, there were many people, along with my father, like coaches, supervisors and mentors who have encouraged and supported me throughout my life. They have instilled in me the ability and willingness to want to help others, starting young, when I first spent time at the local YMCA in Stamford, Connecticut, where we lived. I’ve heard this in church, and it’s true: “It’s only for a season; make sure to know the reason.” I’ve learned to understand the lesson learned from each situation.

What are you most proud of?

Being a father and a husband. I really enjoy being a dad to my 6-year-old daughter. It’s certainly the best job I’ll ever have and makes me the proudest. She is definitely the center of our world and brings such joy to our lives. I have no doubt she is going to do special things in this world.

Words to Live By: “Be comfortable being who you truly are during both difficult and happy times.”

Dr. David Montgomery, M.D.

Cardiologist at Cardiac Associates of North Jersey, Oakland

Who is your favorite role model in life?

I think it would be a man I’ve known all my life: my father. He is a genteel man with an innate kindness toward others, an openness to new ideas and an insatiable academic curiosity. Throughout my life, I have been quietly inspired by his example. Even today at age 89, he continues to write books and articles about his experiences as a Presbyterian missionary to Taiwan through the lens of his doctorate in the sociology of religion. I can only aspire to have his natural affability, intellectual talent and personal inner peace, which are features of his character and faith.

What is the best lesson you have learned in life so far?

I remember during my medical training a man approached my wife, Katherine, and me while we were walking with our young kids. He told me that I was a wealthy man and pointing to our children, said: “This is all the wealth you will ever need.” At the time I was moonlighting to pay our bills and didn’t feel wealthy, but what he said then I have come to embrace: that true wealth is found in the depth and beauty of our relationships with each other, with family and with friends. Over the years, from local volunteer opportunities, to my own medical mission work in Haiti at the Pwoje Espwa Clinic in Les Cayes, I have found that the main value of such efforts for all involved is the personal relationships, the human to human contact, and the humility and awe a sense of community with others can inspire if allowed.

Words to Live By: “Living by ‘later never happens’ means getting things done today, not waiting until tomorrow.”