Last night I attended a Governing Board meeting. The Gilbert School Board has proclaimed this week "Paul Huston Week." All of the marquees around the district have this displayed on them. The reason for this proclamation is that Paul is retiring after working in the district since 1972. Paul has been in Human Resources for many years and has been a huge part of creating the kind of workplace that so many people want to be a part of. Paul did not want a lot of "hoopla" for his retirement and I truly can understand this. However, his contribution to the betterment of our district could not go unnoticed. I think that making this week his week is a perfect way to say good-bye to Paul.
His family was in attendance last night. Paul introduced three of his sons, their wives, and his grandchildren. He also spoke of his son and his wife who live in Colorado. His wife, Kay, had already committed to a golf tournament before this meeting was set. He spoke of his love of his family and what they mean to him. He thanked many people through the years and spoke of his pride in being a part of making our district what it is today.
Tom Brokaw says, "It is easy to make a buck. It's a lot tougher to make a difference." I can tell you that Paul has absolutely made a difference in so many ways. I have learned so much from him over the years. I have been a part of situations with employees that weren't always the most positive meetings. I have seen Paul treat each person with dignity and respect no matter what the issue was. His empathy and kindness are two of his finest qualities. Yet, he dealt with things that needed to be dealt with. I have always felt totally supported by him.
Even when I didn't agree with him, which wasn't very often, I have always felt that he was totally fair and did things for the right reasons.
Paul also has a tremendous sense of humor which will be missed because he was able to use that humor is some very serious situations. I believe that humor is so important in life. Nikki told about how she and Paul drove around the district to see the different marquees with "Paul Huston Week" on them. They got to her former school and decided to take a picture of the two of them standing under the marquee. However, no one was at school so they waited in hopes of seeing someone to take the picture. A lady was running by out exercising and Paul called out to her and she took off even faster. They laughed that the lady would probably call the police--well sure enough, she did!!
Paul said last night that change is good. That is true and I know that people can be replaced and things move on. However, what Paul gave to all of us are life lessons that I hope we will all remember as time marches on.
"We make a living by what we get, but we make a life by what we give." This quote from Winston Churchill sums up what Paul has given to so many in the Gilbert School district.
I have long admired Paul and consider him a good friend. He will truly be missed. Paul has made a difference in many lives and I thank him for making a difference in mine.
Go maire sibh bhur saol nua.
"May you enjoy your new life."