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Celebrating 50 Years

Growing up like most kids, I had no idea what my dad did for a living.  I just knew my mom would put yesterday’s biscuits in the toaster and hand them to him in a paper towel on his way out the door.  He would then magically appear that evening at soccer practice or at one of my baseball games and I, in my youth, not realizing the seeds he was planting at work would someday shape my entire future.

Time passed and high school was approaching.  I hated my junior high and was growing tired of being beaten up at lunch.  My dad brought to me the idea of going to Jesuit College Preparatory School and maybe playing soccer there.  YES.  I didn’t even hesitate in my decision. What the impact would be to the family budget never entered my juvenile consciousness.  The motto at Jesuit is “A Man for Others”.  This motto came to be a theme throughout my life and career. 

Fast forward through my college years and I found myself working for the Plano Fire Department.  The fire service is nothing but an act of total selflessness.  You risk your life so that others may live… a man for others.  At the time I assumed this was my career path and it would have been a good one.  After having 3 kids in 3 years and almost being hit by a car on Central Expressway, I first had the thought of,  “Maybe I don’t want to do this forever”.  I started to broach the subject of working at the office and I remember my dad only being an encouragement and so very accommodating.  I started to grasp the understanding of what my dad really did.  He was a man for others.  I began to understand that this career is caring about the families you serve as if they were your own.  I would hear him over and over say, ”Do what is right for the client no matter what”.

I quickly realized that I was not a solo guy; Perhaps it was the result of working on a crew in the Fire Department for so long.  James soon mentioned that David Dugger was talking to him about a job.  Sure, I said, having no clue what that meant.  I only really remember seeing David as a kid while throwing the football with his brother Alan during my sister’s piano lessons with their mom.  It seemed like a whirlwind, but we all went to Chuy’s and the next thing I know, David is a part of Westbrooks Financial.  I still tell him today, now that I understand the risk he took, that was the dumbest and riskiest thing he’s ever done!  Nineteen years later and it was one of the best decisions WE ever made.  

Somehow, we started to grow and brought Susan back to the team after she took some time away and we almost started to look like a real company.  The team was taking shape.  

I wish I could take each of you back there, to see what we were.  I wish you could know the pain of carbon forms and fuzzy faxes.  I wish you could see Stephen officing in the kitchen on those milk crates.  I wish the advisors that we haven’t even hired yet could know how James built this business client by client being that Man for Others.  What a legacy!  So, cheers to 50 years!  We look forward to the next 50 and to serving more families as if they were our own.

Watch the 50th Anniversary Video

michael h westbrooks

Written by Michael H. Westbrooks

After college at Loyola and the University of North Texas, Michael served 11 years as a Plano firefighter. He officially joined WDW in 1992. Michael and his wife, Loree, have three teenage daughters. Michael runs or bikes whenever possible, competing in several races every year.  Michael is heavily involved with the Dallas Life homeless ministry, having recently completed his term as board president.