Brothers and Sisters,
I will be retiring on July 8, which makes this my final newsletter article as your Business Manager. I’ll begin by thanking the membership for the opportunity to serve Local 520 in this capacity. The support of our members was instrumental and helped me to do the best job I could. I’d also like to thank the officers who served with me over the past six years. I recognize your dedication and loyalty to Local 520 and greatly appreciate your service.
I offer my sincere congratulations to everyone recently elected. Knowing all of you the way I do, I am confident that the future of our Local is in good hands.
Years ago, as a young apprentice, I was on a jobsite with a member who was nearing retirement. I wish I remembered his name, but unfortunately I don’t. I mentioned to him that he was lucky to finally be able to retire. He responded that he would be glad to switch places, because I had my whole life ahead of me. He also told me not to lose track of time.
I thought about that conversation occasionally throughout my years as a member, but it never really hit home until the May union meeting. That meeting fell on Friday, May 13. This was the birthdate of my father, who passed away 42 years ago. It was also at the May meeting that my brother’s name was read off as a deceased member. Thirty-nine years before, on May 13, 1983, I was sworn in as an apprentice with my brother in attendance. He was always my biggest supporter as I worked my way up the ranks within Local 520.
It was at this meeting that the conversation I had decades ago with the retiring member finally clicked and I fully understood what he meant when he told me not to lose track of time. We spend every day so focused on our work, families, and just the typical challenges and minutiae of everyday life that most of us never give much thought to “the future.” It is a hazy, distant idea that seems so far removed when we are in the thick of our busy lives and careers.
I know it’s a cliché, but I’m here to tell you that the retiree who offered this advice in my early days on the job was one hundred percent right. “The future” becomes the present before you know it, and suddenly you’re looking back and marveling about how it all seems like so long ago, yet also time has passed in the blink of an eye.
So if there is any bit of advice I can offer as I stand on the threshold of this new phase of life, it is to take a moment now and then to slow down. Appreciate the people in your life and take the time to tell them. Think about the big picture and what you want out of life when it’s time to make the transition from work to retirement, and make sure you’re on a path that will take you there. Nurture your relationships and value longlasting friendships. And never stop learning and taking opportunities to better yourself.
Thank you again for your support and friendship, and I wish everyone all the best in the years to come.