Following my brother, David's, challenge I've been trying to think of gems in my life during my childhood. These gems are supposed to be non relative. This is not so easy to do, as the people who all come to mind are family members. However, these are the people in my life who have influenced me for the better:
Mr. Agar - he was an older gentleman at our church who took an active interest in the young people. Even though he was retired, he still taught Sunday School and was able to relate to us in a way that most adults couldn't.
Mr. and Mrs. Gage - they were always welcoming of the young people into their home and were a constant possitive influence. They were always there throughout my growing up years and beyond.
Ken and Lil Kurtz - they, too, were always there and were a possitive influence. They always had a smile on their faces and always took an interest in what I was doing and made me feel that I was important.
Burt Wormington - for all the same reasons as the Kurtzs.
Mr. Featherstone - a teacher in high school who, for the first time, made me feel like I was smart, and could do anything I wanted to.
My girlfriend Cheryl - through her influence I was able to become a strong woman, who was not afraid to be me and helped me become an independant woman.
That's all that I can think of in my sleep-deprived brain right now. I will add to the list as I think of more gems in my life. (I guess there are more than I thought there were.)