Today is the end – and the beginning. The end of many years of hard work and commitment and consistent attendance and integrity in some very tough times. This is the day we have talked about and dreamed of and planned for a long time. (Three months ago I made a countdown calendar. Last night my sweetheart was so excited to mark off ‘one more day’ he just couldn’t help embellishing today’s date.)My sweetheart is retiring from Stanley Hydraulic Tools today! He has been a member of the Stanley Tool company for nearly twenty five years. It was a job that was much needed – and he started at the bottom, even though he was well qualified for more. It was grunt work, a foot-in-the-door job. And he did it without complaining. Ever.
Through the years my sweetheart’s true character showed through and he was promoted and honored and moved to more responsibility. One day he was named Assistant Plant Supervisor and he never dreamed where that would take him. Through a long illness of the Plant Supervisor my sweetheart worked many, long hours to keep up with the needs of the operation. Then a day came that he was told his supervisor would not return. My sweetheart immediately became the Acting Operations Supervisor (a title change had taken place somewhere in there). For over a year and a half he maintained that position. At times he felt he was in over his head. But he kept going. Without complaint. Always with a good attitude and a smile. Applications were taken for the position and interviews brought it down to two men – my sweetheart and a younger man from outside the company. The management was concerned about my sweetheart – what would he do if he wasn’t chosen for the position? His answer, ‘I want what’s best for the company. If another person is hired I will do everything I can to help him or her learn what they need to know.’ And he did just that. Another man was hired (and, quite frankly, we were relieved). My sweetheart did what he said he would do and it wasn’t long before the new supervisor said he wanted my sweetheart to step into a newly created, extremely important position – Operations Coordinator. Over the past nearly three years he has made sure all of the raw materials were ordered, he has plotted production through the plant to meet shipping deadlines and he has been one to whom everyone could go to talk or to share a problem. He has won awards. He has been admired and highly respected by people at the top of Stanley Tools. He has been there for people, no matter their position or background. He has championed the ‘little guy’ and applauded the ‘top dog’!
At noon today I will join him and his bosses and coworkers to honor his service – and who he has been to the people he’s worked with. In conversations with his boss I learned that my sweetheart will leave a big ‘hole’ – a gap that can’t be filled by anyone else. Even though others will come and go and fill the roles he had there’s no one will be more respected and loved than my sweetheart. I am proud of him and today I will join others to applaud and give thanks for who he is – and who he has been through the years.
Then we will begin a new chapter in our lives. We don’t know what that means. We haven’t decided what we want to be now that we are all grown up! We have ideas and thoughts and passions. Time will tell – and God will lead. Our hearts will always be full of gratitude for the years we’ve had in the past but the future stretches out ahead of us with such hope. And joy!