Island community can learn from our retirees

  • Wednesday, February 19, 2020 8:33am
  • Opinion

A road trip in an RV across these United States; traveling to exotic places; downsizing your home and moving to a city with a warmer climate; spending more time with the family. These are just a few activities we’ve likely all heard from people who are retiring, whether it’s your neighbor or local public official.

The Beachcomber recently interviewed Melinda Powers, the founder of The Hardware Store Restaurant, who said she had a “bucket list” of things she wants to do, including world travel, now that she has handed over the reins to new management. Powers wrote a commentary about her decision that appears in this edition of the newspaper.

Another retirement-related piece you’ll find within these pages is about Lisa MacLeod, a long-time coach with the Vashon Seals. Like Powers, she served in her role for more than 15 years, but MacLeod isn’t ending a career; she’s leaving the team to pursue a new job opportunity in Seattle.

What was striking about both women’s answers when they were asked about their decisions to leave their roles now was that they felt they had the right people in place to feel comfortable making the transition.

Saying her decision to retire “was not made lightly,” Powers credited her business partner, Rob Andrews who “readily agreed to help make this happen for me.” Andrews is now the managing partner of The Hardware Store Restaurant with his wife, Janie.

MacLeod said her decision to step down from the team was mostly because of her job, but also because of her belief that “Sometimes, it’s time for those people who have been there a long time to move out of the way for the new people.”

There’s a great amount of humility in both Powers’ and MacLeod’s comments about their decisions to move on. Both of them recognized the work others around them were doing, rather than try to say they “did it all” themselves and there was nothing left for them to accomplish. It serves as a lesson for us all: to try as hard as we can to leave anything better than when we found it and that teamwork is what makes the best success.

And hey, retirement stories make for good stories to tell.

The Beachcomber has written about notable people in our community stepping aside from their roles. Subjects include Dr. C.G. Weispfenning, a longtime beloved island doctor who believed that “health care should be available to everyone, whether they had money or not.” Chautauqua Elementary School principal Jody Metzger, who retired after six years of leading “her pod of 542 orcas” and Kurt Lysen, the last King County deputy to both live and work on the island.

There are figures in our community whose stories are worth telling after a long time of service. But as we learn who they are and where they came from, let’s stop and take a moment to reflect and think about what they can teach us.

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