Hawaii News | Incidental Lives Despite turmoil, young dad looks on bright side of life By Michael Tsai Nov. 1, 2011 Mahalo for supporting Honolulu Star-Advertiser. Enjoy this free story! Read more Mahalo for reading the Honolulu Star-Advertiser! You're reading a premium story. Read the full story with our Print & Digital Subscription. Subscribe Now Read this story for free: Watch an ad or complete a survey Log In Already a subscriber? Log in now to continue reading this story. Activate Digital Account Print subscriber but without online access? Activate your Digital Account now. Midway through his shift at Honolulu Airport, Johannes Empron Jr. is itching for something to do. He pushes a cart through the baggage claim area, eyes scanning the empty room for travelers in need, ears alert to the jumble of voices crackling through his walkie-talkie. Empron, 18, spent much of the past year doing side construction jobs — roofing, tiling, extensions — but the work was too infrequent for a young man with a 1-year-old son to support. And so, on the recommendation of his brother, Empron applied at VIP Trans and landed a gig as a porter. The work is simple enough. Empron greets new arrivals, drapes lei around their necks and moves their bags to a waiting shuttle. More important, the wages he earns ensure that he’s able to manage his affairs. "I like to be independent," he says. "I always have. I try to do stuff myself because I know you can’t depend on anybody else. In the end you’re going to be on your own, so you’ve got to be able to do things for yourself." Empron said he learned the value of hard work from his father and grandfather. That understanding, he says, coupled with a strong religious faith, has allowed him to weather a lot of adversity. Empron grew up in Ewa Beach and attended Campbell High School before leaving to enter a vocational program. He and one of his three brothers live with their maternal grandmother. They do what they can to help around the house and make sure that she is safe and comfortable, he says. Empron doesn’t see much of his parents these days. His mother recently started a new job at Ewa Makai Middle School. His father has been in prison for the past two months. Empron is not sure when his father is getting out. Empron says he prefers to look forward rather than dwell on the downside of life. "It could be worse," he says. "God is not going to give you anything you can’t handle." Besides, Empron says, there are much happier things to consider. He says he was excited when he learned he was going to be a father, even though he knew what sort of responsibility that would entail. "I’d always wanted a family of my own," he said. "I was just nervous about how I would be able to support him. I did side jobs as much as I could until I got this job. My son is my motivation to get things done." Little Zyden Empron already shows similarities to his old man. "He’s a good boy," Empron says, proudly. "He listens well. He does get itchy feet and he likes to touch things, but he’s a good boy." Reach Michael Tsai at firstname.lastname@example.org. Previous Story Soldier from Waipahu honored for response to Afghan ambush Next Story Students' scores rise but still trail peers'