Steve Ware & Todd Hill
Twenty-five years ago, Steve Ware became a Big Brother to Todd Hill – a friendship that has endured even beyond the official “Big Brother/Little Brother” match closing date. Steve made the decision to volunteer after serving as a Big Brother during his college years in Iowa. He had a good experience and enjoyed getting involved in the community.
Todd was matched with Steve in the fall of 1978, just as Todd turned 11 years old. Todd’s father was not involved in his life, and having Steve as a male influence meant a lot to him, especially since most of his relatives were female. Todd remembers attending his first Arkansas Razorback football game in Fayetteville with Steve, plus a trip to see the St. Louis Cardinals. Steve attended Todd’s school activities, and according to Steve, “Todd was a good student who was well behaved and who didn’t want to disappoint anyone.”
“The way it worked out, Todd grew up with all of our kids,” Steve said. Todd also was included in big family dinners and he particularly enjoyed “Planters Day” at the Terry Renaud household, the home of Steve’s in-laws. On this day, all family members gathered to clear the old garden and plant a new one.
One of Todd’s favorite memories involves red sweatpants. Todd said Steve’s comfort outfit was a pair of old, red sweatpants that he wore in the garage while smoking a cigar and playing the oldies radio station. Smiling, Steve said, “Todd even knew my bad habits,” but the good habits helped shape this young man’s life.
Five years ago, the Big Brothers Big Sisters agency celebrated 30 years of mentoring and invited Todd and Steve to speak about their experience. There was not a dry eye in the room after Todd spoke of the simple, yet powerful influence his Big Brother had on his life. “Steve taught me how to shake someone’s hand and he also taught me how to tie a tie for the first time.” The audience also learned Steve served as Todd’s best man when he was married 12 years ago.
Steve admits that sometimes he wasn’t sure he was doing all the right things, but he did know that becoming a Big Brother was a benefit to him personally. “It wasn’t work at all. I’ve always said that you find time for what you think is important – it’s not a job.”
Todd graduated from Louisiana Tech University with a degree in Mechanical Engineering and currently works for the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers. Todd is currently a Big Brother in the Big Brothers Big Sisters of Central Arkansas program.