I’m still working full-time. I find myself a little isolated from my coworkers who swirl together from one project to the next, sometimes high-water mode and sometimes a trickle. I’m like a static pylon, poring over boxes, uncovering the city’s history and miscellaneous facts. Emails, meeting notes, soil reports, agendas, contact lists, world without end. I’m convinced a certain former employee was a closet scrapbooker. I found actual slips of colored ribbon from ribbon-cutting ceremonies, tucked securely into manila folders. He kept working files of, well, everything he worked on.
I found an entire box branded in his spidery hand as Unsuccessful Grants/Loans. I maneuvered the hefty box off the bottom shelf. I removed the rubber bands tempering its girth and dug in. Letter after letter outlined Shelton’s need for water system upgrades to the Department of Ecology, or the Rural Grant Department of the USDA. “We regret to inform you that Shelton’s application was denied…” Truly, he was undaunted. The box must have held at least 20 rejected bids for government grants.
And yet, he spearheaded the sewer system upgrade we have now. His input informed the planning, proposals, bidding and interaction with the local tribes to make sure local water sources stayed healthy and protected. I might joke about his copious notes and penchant to hoard documents, but he made a difference. We’re all reaping the benefits of his tenacity. It’s inspiring me to do my best at whatever task I’m given, work-related or otherwise. I would like to leave that kind of legacy to whoever follows me.