Photo: Alligator with Connor's hair saying goodbye

Why Its Hard to Say Goodbye to Alligators

Posted on May 04, 2023 by Connor LaGrange, TPF Fellow 2021/23

See you later, alligator.

Since I understood what jokes were, this was an automatic go-to, the best way to leave a conversation, even as an adult. I cannot wait for my daughter Taytum Grace to begin talking so she can understand and embrace the importance of this cultural mainstay.

Why simply say goodbye when alligators are on the table as an option?

But no one ever mentions how hard it can be to say goodbye to your alligators. Especially when they have helped propel you into all that the future holds.

On May 5, 2023, my wife Maggie, our now 13-month-old baby girl Taytum Grace, and I will start our next chapter in the LaGrange story. We are beyond thrilled at the opportunity and, after much prayer and consideration, truly feel that this will help springboard us into whatever the rest of our lives hold. The joy is tangible.

But along with our joy comes deep grief.

For nearly two years, TPF has been an integral part of who I am as a professional and as a person, and quite frankly, has penetrated the DNA of our little family ( I love when my wife says sentences like “Oh Debra would or would not like that.”) When the connective tissue you build with a group of people genuinely invigorates your being, it is tough to walk away from. I have experienced the highest mountains and some of the lowest valleys while I worked at TPF. I drove with my new bride to start our new life, watched our car blow up on the way, hung wedding photos in our first home together, made new friends, experienced the joy of having a child, the heartache of medical trauma, and the redemption prayer and modern medicine can bring. Through it all, the newfound TPF family supported us wholeheartedly.

As we stare down a great new opportunity for our family, we won’t for a second forget the foundation TPF has provided us with. Each saying and way of being is forever printed on our hearts, and we will carry TPFism with us in this next chapter and all chapters to come.

Thank you for everything. The way the Suncoast and TPFers have embraced us has been remarkable. Over the last two years, I have grown more than I ever expected, been challenged in deep and meaningful ways, and built more new muscles than I knew I possessed.

However, I have been reliably informed that one may launch from TPF, but they never truly leave. I look forward to forever being a TPFer and to all the adventures ahead.

After a while, crocodile.


Glimpse "A brief history of Connor LaGrange" here.

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