Blaine Brown grew up in a small town.
A town so small that his high school doesn’t even exist anymore, and Blaine said he has a few memories he wish didn’t exist either.
Blaine’s story is a mashup of challenging circumstances, tough choices and the redemptive power of hard work. It’s a story that Blaine said he wants to tell, because he said no one should ever let their past define their future.
As a kid, Blaine grew up living between homes. His parents divorced when he was in 4th grade and he and his siblings alternated between his mom, dad and various family members. His dad and brother were in and out of jail with drug and alcohol addictions and Blaine’s only constants in life were school and work.
At school, he was often made fun of for his hand-me-down clothes and messy family life. But work was where he could put his head down and get tasks done. In 6th grade he started working for his uncle’s cable company. He gave all of his earnings back to his mom to help with bills and groceries.
As Blaine got older he realized that there was one thing about school that really excited him – sports. He wasn’t always the most skilled and he rarely had all of the right gear, but he always outworked everyone on the team. Blaine excelled at basketball and football and was quickly noticed and encouraged by his coaches, teachers and the community.
During his freshman year in high school he made the varsity basketball team. It was a huge honor and Blaine could finally stick out for reasons beyond his socioeconomic status. But as he was gearing up for his first game, he realized that he wouldn’t be able to afford the pair of shoes that the rest of the team was wearing.
He was embarrassed, but tried to pretend like it wasn’t a big deal. The next day he opened his locker and found a pair of the team shoes in his locker.
Blaine said he still doesn’t know who put those shoes there. He has a few guesses, but no one ever admitted to the generous act of kindness.
Even though he doesn’t know the name of the person who gave him the shoes, Blaine said that’s a person he thinks about nearly every day. To most people it was just a pair of shoes, but to Blaine it was affirmation that someone cared about and believed in him.
After high school, Blaine attended Peru State College where he played football and studied physical education and sports management.
In high school, he hadn’t been a very good student – he did just enough to play football on Friday night – but in college that changed. He zoned in on both sports and school, making the most of his four years in college.
Blaine said he worked extra hard in college because he was paying his own way, and he knew he needed to get a good job after he graduated. He also said that being away from the constant chaos of his home life was a relief and he realized he didn’t want to move forward with the same kind of lifestyle that he grew up witnessing.
After graduation, Blaine stayed on at Peru as a football coach and fell in love with the idea of making coaching his career. He was offered a coaching position at a Division 1 university. It was his dream job, the perfect career move… but he turned it down.
While the job would have been great for Blaine, it wasn’t a good fit for him and his daughter. It would have put thousands of miles between them and a strain on their relationship. As someone who grew up without a dad, Blaine knew this wouldn’t work.
He finished up his coaching stint at Peru and then decided to start a roofing company. Growing up in a farm town, there was always roof work to be done and Blaine had started his own company back in high school. He decided to pick up where he left off, confident in the fact that he could provide a good service to the community.
Over the past few years, Blaine has seen his business grow alongside his daughter. He said he wouldn’t trade watching her grow up for anything. He’s built a thriving business that he hopes to expand to a handful of midwest states, and he isn’t shy about his ambitions and expectations for himself and his business.
Blaine is a highly confident and driven person. He’s a fanatic about doing good work and helping others. That’s not how he was raised, but it’s how he wants to raise his daughter.
When Blaine thinks back on his story he’s not as ashamed as he used to be about the way he grew up. He knows that his experiences shaped who is, but he’s more than just a product of his circumstances.
Blaine made his own choices in life. He chose to step up, to get out and to lean in when he was needed. He made mistakes, but he learned to take responsibility for his actions.
His story is about more than just his past, it’s about his future, a future he’s writing and one he’s proud to call his own.