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Run him out the door

Jan 9

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1/9/2014 11:02 AM  RssIcon

What could inspire a group of intelligent people to take time off from work and gear up in running clothes on a sub-zero day? In the case of the Public Works employees shown below, it was the best way they could think of to say goodbye and good luck to Wayne "Willie" Wilmot (wearing the yellow jacket), an engineering technician principal who retired yesterday after a lengthy career serving the citizens of St. Louis County.



Kristi Anton, an Information Specialist II in Public Works, agreed to serve as guest blogger, and shares the rest of the story:

After 42.5 years of working for St. Louis County, Wayne Wilmot decided it was time to retire. His decision wasn't because he no longer had the energy, he just said it was time. Traditionally, our department collects money from employees to go towards cake and coffee expenses and then we spend some time visiting and saying goodbyes. But if you know "Willie", he's not a cake and coffee sort of person.
 
It sort of began as a joke that we were going to have to "Run him out the door" especially after the flood projects began. He insisted that he was going to stay until Haines Road was completed, and then he would retire January 8, 2014, a date that was written on the glass window of his office just to remind us all.

As that date got closer and closer, Willie consistently reminded me "Kristi, I really don't want cake and coffee, I'm not a cake and coffee kind of guy."

While working with others to plan a non-cake and coffee retirement party, a small group of crazy people emerged that said, "You know, we should really run him out the door. We should run around Pike Lake!" We found it fitting because Willie is a very active person between cross country skiing, hockey, bike trips and tandem-biking with his wife; and we wanted to make sure we did at least one more thing as a team before he left. Even Tiffany Kari, St. Louis County health promotions coordinator, joined in on our run. 

We figured out from the front door around the lake and back to the front door it was exactly 6.2 miles. The days leading up the run, as we all know, were VERY COLD, so we decided to reduce the run from 6.2 miles to just 2 miles - until Darrell Miller said "I don't want to look back at this 10 years from now and regret not running the full thing. I'm going to turn left and keep going, the rest of you do what you need to do."

This turned into a domino effect of getting everyone back on board for the full 6.2 miles. We began at 12:57 p.m. and turned left onto Midway Rd. Tiffany hadn't arrived yet, but as we began the run, she pulled up, parked her car on the side of the road, strapped on her running shoes and sprinted up to catch the group. Tiff made sure to stop and visit with each runner as she slowly crept up near the front of the pack. The run wasn't about who finished when. It wasn't for time. It was for fun, a department moral booster if you want to call it that. We all finished - and now we have something to talk about.


Shown above after finishing the race, L-R: Jeff Gretsfeld, Jon Mercier, Brian Boder, Tiffany Kari, Willie Wilmot, Kristi Anton, Erin Potratz and Darrell Miller.

Kristi estimates that despite the approximate 0 degree temperature, everyone finished the 10K run in 60-70 minutes or less. "It was fun. It was definitely a first," said Kristi, insisting, "It wasn’t that bad once you got moving."

Best of all, was the lasting memory of camaraderie they were able to leave with Willie. Said Kristi, "He was pumped that everybody did it."

Best of luck, Willie, from all of us at St. Louis County. Thank you for your many years of service, and enjoy your retirement!

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2 comment(s) so far...


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Re: Run him out the door

Sounds like the perfect party for my brother Wayne. He loves to push himself and everyone around him into doing challenging feats. How bad could the Stairway Portage into Rose Lake be? Looking forward to many more camping trips with Wayne. Love you!
Susie

By Susie Johnson on   1/10/2014 11:43 AM
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Re: Run him out the door

My wife does this running in subzero temperatures too, not sure exactly how or why she does it but she does lol.
Wayne another great employee for giving so much time, enjoy retirement!

By Stephen R on   1/19/2014 1:39 PM

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Dana Kazel
Public Information
Dana Kazel 
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100 N 5th Ave W
Duluth, MN 55802
(218) 725-5049
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