It occurred to me recently that, with my expansion into Denver, I have the potential to reach over 3.5 million people. Yet few listeners know my backstory: where I’ve come from, where I’ve been, and how I came to be the man I am today. I thought it might benefit my new listeners—and even those who have been listening for a while—if I devoted a show to sketching out my background and biography.
As most listeners will know, I am originally from Wisconsin, where my family has wide and deep roots. The Garvens family has been settled in Wisconsin since 1848 when Karl Otto Garvens settled a farm near the very new, and very rural, town of Milwaukee. Every generation since has mostly stayed in that same area, though each generation has one or two black sheep that wanders away. I am the black sheep of my family, having developed an early sense of independence. I learned early that I should follow own path to happiness wherever it may lead. For example, I spent a short time in high school on the wrestling team even though my primary interest had been in gymnastics. My parents, my wrestling coach, and my high school’s gymnastics coach all pressured me to stay committed to wrestling. I decided against it, however, and finished out high school on the men’s gymnastics team.
From there, I went on to the University of Wisconsin – Lacrosse on an athletics scholarship. My dad, who had a background in engineering, stressed two things throughout my entire childhood: the importance of self-reliance and the importance of education. He offered to pay my way through college, despite his devotion to self-reliance, but ultimately only had to pay for half a semester, with my remaining semesters covered by both ROTC and athletics scholarships until, finally, I graduated with a Bachelors of Science.
My time in ROTC introduced me to the military lifestyle and persuaded my to join the military right after college. I went in as a care-free and rebellious individual—earning the nickname “Jesus” because of my long hair—but matured and grew quickly. Looking back, it’s extraordinary to think of the man I was going into the military as a Medical Amin. Officer in early 1991, and who had I become by the time I shipped off to Germany in August of that same year.
Eventually my military career brought me to Colorado Springs, where I met my Wife, Marlo, and we decided to stay in the Springs upon my retiring from the military. I then joined Top Gun Mortgage in 1998, struck out on my own in 2004, and established Garvens Mortgage Group in 2005. The next few years were an absolute rollercoaster, with the mania of the housing bubble and the catastrophe of the financial collapse. I was one of the few mortgage loan officers to make it through that period relatively unscathed, and the wisdom I gained during those years has guided my approach to mortgages to this day.
So that is my biography in a few paragraphs. I’ll continue to fill in this sketch every week on my show, with both personal and professional anecdotes. I hope this brief biography helps my listeners understand more about me and why I am the way I am, why I believe what I believe, and why I try to teach what I’ve learned to as many people as possible.