Tribute to My Parents: 38 Years of Service

This past weekend the community where I grew up celebrated my parent’s retirement. It was a wonderful celebration filled with great food and conversation. Some 450 people attended the event and it was amazing to see that multiple generations of families came to say good bye! I come from a long legacy of entrepreneurs. My great grandfather, Whiting (that’s where I got the company name from), owned his own cabinet business for over 30 years, and my parents had the family business for 38 years!

I think it’s amazing to be in one role for so long plus remain committed and passionate about what you do!

I had an opportunity to speak at the event on Sunday on behalf of the family to say thank you to my parents as well as the community where the business took place. I would like to share my comments with you and dedicate this blog to Neil and Fran Frood, Congratulations on your retirement!

I would like to take everyone on a journey so here is how I have heard the story go….

There was a young couple looking for a home, they started out their journey some 38 years ago. They were looking for a place between two cities and through their search they found a place called York. Where they founded the family business and thus the story begins.

They had a young daughter that attended a meeting she bumped her head and the committee was impressed with how this young couple cared for this little red head…

I am sure this young couple had no idea where their life’s journey was going to take them or how the dots would be connected over the years; how they would make an impact and what would be their legacy.

I was sitting on the patio with my best friend a week ago, and we were talking about our lives and our parents… how so many people in life have struggles and how unfair life can be. I believe when you are born it’s a gamble on the type of parents you are given. Neil, Jamie and I were very blessed in this area. We were given the very best parent’s who care about our interests, never have missed an event in our lives whether it’s big or small, and have given us all the love and support one could ever ask for. Till this day, I know that I can call them any hour of the day or night and they would be there for me….unless Peter, Emma, Olie or Gretta call first.

Growing up as a PK kid had its challenges as well as many great life experiences that have helped us in our lives. It’s like a family business in a way, where it’s a machine and we all had to play our part to keep it up and going. My role was to be Dad’s date, I loved to go to all the weddings and parties with my Dad, I am a Daddy’s girl…But like any child I did not realize the impact that this family business had until recently. Many people in today’s work are soul searching and looking for what would make them happy and what they can be passionate about…what type of community they can build etc.

It was not until I think Dad announced that he was retiring that I really took a step back to see what was accomplished over these past 38 years. We have built a community, we have built passion and I have seen how a person is passionate about what they do and how that can impact an organization in a positive way. You can’t teach that type of skill.

I am sure most of you have experienced this story, but a couple of weeks ago my mother in-law was in the hospital, she was not having the best day. There was a knock at the door and I looked up and there was my Dad, with his trade mark rose in hand. He sat down next to Lea and gave her his full undivided attention, led a great conversation and was able to make her smile. Not many people know how to make a visit like that. The only other person I can think of is Jean Copeland…goes into a room with a smile, and then when you leave everything seems ok.

When I think about my Mom, I think about all her hard work for her mission projects. It’s no joke that I love to shop, but I can’t tell you how many shopping trips she or we would make to make sure everyone around the holiday’s had a smile on their face. The amount of time she spends coordinating and checking her list twice is amazing!

My parents never lost their passion– their life’s journey has been to make this community one, and to help one another during a time of joy or sadness.

Through watching our parents, Jamie, Neil and I have all have learned to build something within our own lives and to take those skills- whether its explaining how to look out for your financial future, or developing a piece of art, or helping a person decide what they want to do next in their career.

Now to thank YOU – this place called York. That is how I have referred to this congregation over the years. When I’m asked where I grew up, everyone thinks its NYC, and they have never heard of York, NY. But this town has taught me many things that I cherish!

I’m amazed at the sense of community and willingness to help others that you have demonstrated consistently over the years. I have never seen you not take on a challenge and even with the economic times not being so great you still are willing to give to help one another!

In other areas that I have lived in, I have never seen that happen. Everyone today is trying to build a community and network of folks that you can lean and count on. I think they should all visit York, because truly you have built a wonderful community. It was truly an honor to grow up in this family, and I am very grateful that my children could witness all the great things about this place. This was like a second home for Jamie, Neil and I – this is where we came to play, our first telephone number that we learned a place where we would be if we were sick etc.

Change is tough, and I am not one that likes change. I help organizations go through change on a daily basis, so my wish for the family business is to embrace the change, but do not forget where you came from and passion in helping others, and your commitment to this home and community that you have here together. Look at all the dots that have been connected over these last 38 years and take them forward to a new and glorious time.

In closing Neil, Jamie and I would like to honor our parents- we appreciate all that you have done for our family over the years, and would like this fund to be here so that we can give over the years to say thank you. Even though we will be going our separate ways we will always be here in spirit and love this place from the bottom of our hearts.

Thank you!


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