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A Father with Perspective

He was following in his family’s footsteps by being part of the military. He was part of a high operational tempo (OPTEMPO) unit, which meant they were deployed overseas constantly. 

“Both of my parents were in the Navy,” Mark Henry says. “I was actually born in Guantanamo Bay, Cuba, on the navel base there.” 

It felt like he was following his life-long goals, but it was difficult for him to see his family when he was constantly gone. After being deployed overseas for months, he would come home for a short time before deploying overseas again. 

“We were constantly moving,” Mark says. “It was very difficult to establish a family life.” 

When Mark began in the military, his wife, Amy, had just given birth to their firstborn. Amy would show their daughter pictures of her father, and she would talk on the phone with him while he was overseas, but it wasn’t the same.  

“I came home, and I remember her coming across the parking lot to see me because she recognized me from the pictures. But as she approached me, I got bigger and bigger,” Mark recalls. “By the time she got halfway to me, I was too big. She was scared to death and turned around and ran like hell. She wouldn’t come near me for like three days.” 

Mark realized that the military wouldn’t work for him or his family. He was medically retired from the military for mental health reasons and some injuries to his feet and ankles. 

“I had to reintegrate into civilian life, which was something that was problematic for me. I went through some bouts of addiction and substance abuse and wasn’t really present,” Mark says. “It made things difficult for me as a parent and a husband.”

Mark soon found himself in culinary school and now has become a renowned chef and restaurant owner. He was the winning contestant in the National Food Network’s TV show “Chopped” and opened Rooster’s House of Ramen in Colorado Springs. 

The delicious restaurant was named after his wife’s roller derby name, “Rippin’ Rooster,” which was also the name of one of the signature dishes. 

Unfortunately, Rooster’s House of Ramen closed, but in its place, Mark and his team opened a new restaurant called Kelley’s Spiedie Sandwich Shop. 

“It’s in the exact same location and has the same ownership,” Mark says. “Product availability was becoming harder and harder, and one of our mainline purveyors went out of business overnight.” 

The restaurant is owned and operated by Mark and his brother, Chad Henry. The restaurant’s name was inspired by their mother, Kelley, who lost her 9-year battle with cancer and passed away in 2015. 

“The Brothers and their family could not be more excited to prepare the food of their youth and family gatherings…,” states on the Kelley’s Spiedie Sandwich Shop website. “-while honoring our mother that started this whole journey with us!”

Mark recalls sitting around the dining room table with his grandparents and extended family enjoying a meal. “We wanted to create a space where we could help be a part of those memories for our customers, but also a family style environment where we’re a small knit team.” 

Mark and Amy now have four beautiful children, their youngest being two years old. “With my son being born, I don’t have any of those barriers anymore, and it has been my life goal to be as present as possible and involved with him as I can.” 

“I missed a lot of stuff with my kids because I was working or in the military. That really starts to hit you later in life the more that you think about it. So keeping things in perspective and knowing that you can go out and achieve your dreams…but realizing that there may be some things that you don’t know you want to do. So keep yourself open to those possibilities and maintain a perspective on those things you’re doing.”

Family Food

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