TSO Network Update - October 2018
Vol. 7, Issue 10 October 2018 By the time our newsletter is published, I will have celebrated my 50th birthday. I know what you all are thinking, “but he looks so young”. This milestone has inspired me to reflect on my life and what has led me to where I am now. Some of you may know my story, but I want to share it because our Network is such a big part of my life. I was born and raised primarily by my grandparents in Brownsville, Texas. My father was sentenced to life in prison when I was a few months old and my mother worked a few jobs to make ends meet. We lived with my grandparents, and I spent a lot of time with them. My grandfather came from a musical family. I would watch him play the guitar and then he would teach me a few cords. This allowed me to be able to play along while he played the accordion. They would take me every summer to visit my father in prison, and my grandmother reminded me of the importance of making wise decisions. We would spend our time admiring nice cars driving past our house Chairman’s CORNER - Benny Peña, OD My TSO Story and on our drives to Huntsville. She was particularly fond of an early 80’s Mercedes Benz SL 380 that would occasionally drive past. I told her that I was going to buy her one when I grew up. She replied, “Those are very expensive, how do you plan on buying that for me?” I explained that I would just have to become a doctor. She held me to that promise all through my high school years. I spent five years as a United States Marine to be able to afford a college education. I moved to College Station after being deployed to the middle east for ten months, eager to start college. I was hired by the optical in the Wal-Mart in Bryan, Texas. I figured I could keep my promise if I became an eye doctor and having some optical experience would be beneficial. I also made some extra money playing bass guitar on the weekends with some cover bands. Little did I know that music would lead me to TSO. I was a member of the Roger Creager Band through the first two records. Of course, I had to leave my playing days behind once I started optometry school. During my third year, I learned that my former band was hired to perform at the annual TOA convention. I was, and still am, in contact with my former band mates and was invited to perform a few songs with them that evening. I am told that Dr. Brian Blount, Dr. Kevin Katz, and John Marvin decided I should be approached about becoming a member of the TSO Network. I attended Vision Quest that summer and, while on the beach in Mexico, my wife Stephane and I decided that we would join the TSO Network. The doctor’s camaraderie, and the Network staff friendliness were the primary reason we wanted to join. Reflecting on my life revealed the following: 1. My grandmother taught me to make wise decisions. 2. My grandfather taught me to play guitar. 3. My military experience taught me the importance of team work and camaraderie. 4. I am glad that these things led me to TSO. These four things have had a major influence on who I am today. I am very proud to be a member of TSO and serve as a board member and chairman for our Network. Sadly, my grandparents passed before I graduated from optometry school. But I still have the instruments my grandfather gave me, and sometimes I drive the 380 SL I promised my grandmother.