“My life is my message.” – Mahatma Gandhi
June 9th, 2018 -Mark Douglas Krull – a new life.
For Doug Krull, it’s just another moment in a decade of changes – new lives, new loves, new businesses, new beginnings. Plenty of blessings in a torrent sea of upheaval. Baby Mark is the latest blessing in Doug’s world, but even that wasn’t easy. Yet what worthwhile moment in life ever is?
“There were some scary moments there,” says Doug. “We had to go into the hospital four-to-five weeks early. The doctors decided the baby wasn’t getting what he needed, (in utero). My wife Heather was trying to push off the early labor a couple of days to have her doctor around for the birth, but the other docs said you need to go now! They tried to induce labor, but after six hours Heather wasn’t dilating any further. There was another procedure to expand her cervix, but that burst a blood vessel, so they decided on the emergency C-section. They gave her the epidural, did the surgery and within the hour they were pulling Mark out.”
Mark Krull came into the world at 4-lb, 13 oz. He’s doing well, so are Heather and Doug and big-brother Kyler. Another addition to the family and to Doug’s extended family, those who are part of USHEALTH Advisors, where Doug serves as a Division Leader. Doug had earned his way to the annual company rewards trip in Cabo San Lucas, Mexico, a trip which kicked-off June 9th. Not knowing what was to come, Heather had been encouraging Doug to go on the company trip, since the baby wasn’t due for another month. As it turns out, had Doug hopped the flight to Mexico, it would have meant missing out on the birth of his son. Doug wasn’t taking any chances. Sometimes the universe knows exactly what you need to do.
“Had my husband listened to my insistent pleas he would have been either in Cabo or on his way and would have missed the whole thing,” says Heather. “As bad and as stressful as things got, I’m so so thankful he ignored my attempts to convince him to go. His strength carried me through some very tough moments.”
When it comes to Heather and his family, Doug is hell-bent on doing the right thing. He comes to it honestly, after serving for years encouraging others to find a piece of heaven – as a Christian Music singer. “I spent seven years in the industry,” says Doug. “I cut records, toured the country. I have fond memories of the music business. You never know how a song can change the direction of someone’s life. I remember getting a letter about a woman who passed away because of the unfortunate consequences of a drug addiction. The woman’s sister wrote to me to let me know her sister wanted my record played on her deathbed. That was a hard letter to read. You’re in a city for one night to perform and you don’t know the impact a two-hour show can have on someone’s life.”
But life is full of changes and although Doug was singing about God and grace, in his personal life, there began to be strife and stress. As a performer, Doug partnered with his wife in the music business, but as the marriage took a turn, the music of their lives stopped playing. Doug was forced to turn away from the business and focus on what was best for his son Kyler. Doug ended up with full custody of his son, and not long after his divorce, Doug met Heather.
Living in Nashville, Heather also worked in the music industry, doing hair and make-up for the country singers. After meeting, for Doug and Heather, there was a new love song on the horizon, but not before they fought back against the resistance to what they believed they deserved. It always seems to go like this when something is truly worthwhile, you battle through misperception and inner demons before you uncover the “good stuff”. Initially, Doug and Heather had the attraction, but not the belief, the belief in themselves. Yet their love story is one many could model.
The end of his music career and then a dive into the financial services industry, just before the great recession hit, left Doug in a tough, financial situation. No job and little money. Then he met Heather, whose family seemed to be very successful. “I could tell Heather’s family was financially well-off,” says Doug. “My first dinner was in their six-thousand-square-foot home and it was intimidating, very intimidating – being in that situation and in that house – while knowing I didn’t have two nickels to rub together and on the precipice of bankruptcy. But Heather knew it and she handled it. She knew I couldn’t afford to go on dates, and so if we went out she found a way to make it happen. She would buy tickets to an event without me knowing, then come to me and say something like, ‘oh I have these tickets, I don’t want them to go to waste, why don’t we go?’
Heather remembers, “I was doing well, I didn’t want to make him feel like less by not taking me on a date. I made a lot happen, but it worked and here we are now. Now he’s the one making all the money, and I get to stay home!”
“Heather saw something in me that I didn’t see in myself,” says Doug. “I spent the first year of our relationship trying to figure out why she is trying to change me. But that’s something you don’t find, because most people want it all up front, making sure the person is already everything they want them to be right away before they make a decision to be with you. Not Heather. Yet on her end, she was scared to death to let me love her.”
That’s because Heather had her own challenges. While Doug struggled to make ends meet, Heather was struggling with health issues. The cliché is that health is wealth, but it couldn’t be closer to the truth.
From the time she was only 13, Heather struggled with a multitude of health problems. Everything from seizures, to brain surgeries, to a misdiagnosis of cancer and then finally a diagnosis of MS, Multiple Sclerosis. The health challenges played on Heather’s mind and made her mindful of getting into a deep relationship with Doug, someone she saw could see as her future but was scared to death to bring along for the ride.
“I remember when we first started dating,” says Heather. “He was a little more serious early on, so I kept trying to push him away. I told him, ‘you have a lot going on and I’m sick.’ I told him, ‘you’re perfect, so you’re not my type.’ I didn’t want him to want me, I wanted him to want something more stable. After four-to-five months of dating, I said, ‘are you sure about this? I don’t know what I’m going to end up like.’ He told me, ‘Heather, if it means one day I’m carrying you up the stairs and need to wait on you hand-and-foot, it won’t matter. I will love you until the day I die.’
“If I know what love is, it is because of you.” – Anonymous
On November 11th, 2011 at 11:11 AM, that love became a union. Heather and Doug were wed. Seven years later, Heather has adopted Doug’s son Kyler as her own and now the couple has baby Mark as part of their world and their family.
“I want to grow as a husband and a father,” says Doug. “I look at Heather and I don’t know if I can love a person as much as I love my wife. She makes me want to continue to grow and be a better person. I want to leave a legacy to be proud of.”
The other legacy Doug is building is with his sales team at USHEALTH Advisors. The teams and USHA offer health coverage and other benefits to the self-employed marketplace, individuals and families. As a Division Leader for USHA, Doug is always cognizant of makings sure his work family is cared for as much as his own.
“My daily job is to pursue excellence where I am right now,” says Doug. “I want to help as many people as possible take care of their families in this business. A good division leader is making sure everyone is taking care of their families. I want to show my own kids the result of hard work and dedication. I always want to be known as the person that never stops being willing to grow and to learn. If I get everything I want and can’t take anyone with me, then it’s all for naught. The older I get I want to leave a legacy and follow in the footsteps of other great leaders in his company, like Taraina McCants, Andy Montague and probably the greatest leader I have ever seen, the man who leads this company, Troy McQuagge. The greatest in this business are always growing, always reading. He is that guy, striving to be better every day. I’ve learned from Troy how to build relationships. The key element of success is building relationships.”
Doug also recognizes his relationship with Heather is crucial to his success. “I would not be able to do what I do and work the hours that I work without her support,” says Doug. “She is what makes this go-round. If the wheels fell off at home we wouldn’t be talking right now about how great this thing is. If not for her and her support, I’d be looking for a 9-to-5 job.”
“I don’t work for the company,” says Heather. “But I’m just as close, or closer to the people in this company, people who aren’t even in Nashville, but I just met on some of the trips. I’m just a spouse, but it’s that kind of company, you are not just a spouse. You are family. That’s what USHEALTH is all about.”
The company’s mission is that of HOPE, Helping Other People Everyday. Heather didn’t realize this until a recent company trip. A few years ago, at only 15 weeks into her pregnancy, Heather lost a baby. The couple says it was devastating, for they knew it was a girl and had already given her a name, Hope. That year, just prior to the trip the company sent all the spouse’s a Tiffany bracelet and a charm, on the charm was one word, that word was HOPE.
Despite the tough loss through their miscarriage Heather and Doug kept HOPE alive, in more ways than one, and on June 9th despite the challenges and tense moments, Mark came into the world.
The hope and promise of a new life.
Until next time, thanks for taking the time.