Young dad gives advice to others “Stick around, it’s worth it”
Andrew Beach at the age of 15, was a promising athlete in high school that was being scouted in baseball by the Colorado Rockies and was a regular high school student in every way.
That changed on April 22, 2010. That day, he became a dad.
“I got the call about 8 o’clock in the morning,” said Glenda Beach, Andrew’s mother.
The call was from the mother of Andrew’s girlfriend, Megan Wales, who was 16 at the time.
“She just had a baby,” said the voice on the phone.
“I said, ‘what are you talking about, I just left your house 15 minutes ago, literally,’” said Glenda.
No one, including Megan, knew she was pregnant until she had the baby.
Andrew was getting ready for school and had just gotten out of the shower when Glenda told him, “Guess what, you’re a daddy.”
“Then he passed out,” said Andrew’s dad, Gary Beach.
“I still had the towel around me and everything,” said Andrew.
An ambulance took Megan and their new son, Christian, to the hospital.
Christian, weighed in at 7 pounds, 11.8 ounces
“When they finally let us go back to the nursery and I looked at him through the window I think I passed out for a minute because I was looking at a spitting image of [Andrew],” said Glenda.
“The minute [Christian] was born, this one (Andrew) was up at night feeding and changing diapers,” she said
“He quit baseball to take care of him, “ said Gary.
Andrew tested to skip his junior year in high school and graduated at the age of 17. He joined the military to take care of his family. Unfortunately a knee injury in the first week sent him home. Once he recovered from the knee injury, he applied and was accepted to the firefighters program at Lamar, but financial aid didn’t come through, so he couldn’t attend. He has been working at McDonald’s in Orange to save money. In August he will attend Lamar State College-Orange to earn his Emergency Medical Technician (EMT) certification. He hopes to work for Acadian Ambulance, then later go to firefighter training when he saves enough money.
A local organization, Biddings and Blessings holds online auction benefits on Facebook for locals in need and recently held a benefit, to help Andrew with his tuition.
“My plan is I’m going to work in Orange as an EMT, then once I become a firefighter, work for the city of Orange, Beaumont or Port Arthur, somewhere around here for a couple of years,” said Andrew. “Then my main goal is to be a firefighter in a big city like Houston, Dallas, San Antonio, New Orleans, something like that, a big city.”
“He wants more action,” said his mom.
He has been drawn to service occupations since meeting “Preacher Man” in the service. Andrew was discharged when he hurt his knee. Preacher Man was sent to Afghanistan and was killed. Glenda feels Andrew was destined to meet Preacher Man. “It changed his life.”
Currently Andrew and Megan are together with Christian, living as a family with Andrew’s parents. The Beaches created a space for them in their home.
Is marriage in the future for Andrew and Megan?
“We talk about it a lot, but we are just going to see the way things go,” said Andrew. “We’ve had a couple of breaks, two, three, four months, but we’ve always gotten back together.”
In the fall they hope to enroll Christian, now 4 years old, in North Early Learning Center.
Andrew offers advice to other young fathers.
“Take responsibility for your actions. Tough it out. It will be hard, but it’s going to get better over time. It will get easier,” he said.
“I recommend waiting, but if you do find yourself in my shoes, it’s worth it to stick around.”
One of the things he enjoys most about Christian is, “watching him act exactly like me, about military, baseball, sports, all that stuff. He’s the spitting image of me. I get to see how much fun my mom and dad had with it.”
“This is Andrew made over,” said Glenda about her grandson.
Sometimes the responsibility of caring for a 4-year-old by a 19-year-old is tough. “There have been times I wanted to go do something really bad, but I couldn’t because I had to watch him or do something with him. It’s bad, but then again it’s also rewarding because you’re getting quality time with your kid.”
His advice to older fathers is to be there for your children. “There are some that are twice my age. They have kids and don’t stay. I stayed at the age of 15 for him.”
Gary said the situation has been rocky sometimes.
“It has been rough, because they were young. [Andrew] was 15 and [Megan] was 16 and they didn’t know nothing,” said Glenda. “Sometimes it was kinda like we were the parents. Sometimes we would try to teach them how to do it right. They didn’t know. They didn’t even know she was pregnant, literally, until she had him.”
Glenda said Andrew takes better care of Christian than some older men take care of their children.
“It is totally worth it,” said Andrew.