At just 16 years of age, Jim Stock began working for the City of Red Deer.
On Friday, after 46 years on the job, officially retired.
Stock entered the fray when Red Deer had a population of just 20,000. He was hired on to work in the sewer department of Environmental Services.
He’s remained in that area, moving up to work as an equipment operator, termporary foreman, full-time foreman and for the final two years of his career, a field superintendent.
“It’s been quite a thing working with all the guys and different people throughout the years. I’ve just had an outstanding career,” he says. “From our old shop moving on down here to the new shop was a big change for us. We basically overcame that -- it was a challenge to begin with, but everything’s worked out really good.”
Working for nearly 50 years at any one job or in any one department undoubtedly requires a passion for one’s craft.
“Construction and maintenance is all the underground work, so it involves backhoes and machinery of all sorts. Once it’s in your blood, you never get rid of it,” Stock laughs. “It’s not only sewers, we replace water mains, sewer mains, we do a lot of infrastructure work, install new water mains, relay old water mains with new PVC. It’s a lot of work, a lot of work.”
Most of all, Stock says he’ll remember the people he worked with, for whom he has nothing bad to say about.
“I do have a real passion for the guys I work with in construction and maintenance – they’re the people that have made me the way I am,” he says. “It's like a big family to me. It’s going to be a sad day at 3:30 when I walk out the door.”
Probably not unexpectedly, Stock’s door was busy on his final day with employees from throughout the City stopping by to say their final goodbyes and congratulations.
On Friday morning, a goodbye ceremony was held at the Civic Yards. Of the occasion, Mayor Tara Veer says Stock may look back on his mentors in the job, but he's since become the mentor for a new generation of City workers.
“It’s so rare to have somebody for over four decades, but he’s such an incredible person not only in terms of what he does for his work and the quality of work that he’s given our community, but his character is incredible,” she says. “He is well-known and respected throughout the organization and we certainly couldn’t ask for any more in a person. Even on his last day, he was making sure everything was done right.”
Stock admits he doesn’t have too many plans for his retirement just yet, but figures he’ll do some camping and take a holiday.
“Other than that, I'll just love life.”
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