My librarian mother taught us to love learning. My father, a shipyard worker, put in overtime and extra shifts. And they made sure we volunteered to help others. Later, they both became United Methodist ministers, an expression of the faith that guides us.

These were our family values. Faith, service, education, and responsibility.

Now, we only had one car, so sometimes my dad had to hitchhike and walk long stretches during the 30 mile trip home from the shipyards. One rainy night, my mom got worried. We piled in the car and went out looking for him, and we eventually found my dad making his way along the road, soaked and shivering in his shirt sleeves.

When he got in the car, my mom asked if he had left his coat at work. He explained that he’d given it to a homeless man he’d met on the highway. When we asked why he’d given away his only jacket, my dad turned to us and said, “I knew when I left that man, he’d still be alone, but I could give him my coat, because I knew you were coming for me.”

Our power and strength as Americans lives in our hard work and our belief in more. My family understood firsthand that while success is not guaranteed, we live in a nation where opportunity is possible.

But we do not succeed alone.

In these United States, when times are tough, we can persevere because our friends and neighbors will come for us. Our first responders will come for us. It is this mantra, this uncommon grace of community that has driven me to become an attorney, a small-business owner, a writer, and most recently the Democratic nominee for governor of Georgia.