I went to Bismarck yesterday to attend a retirement party for a friend who is moving on to a new chapter in his life after a long career at the North Dakota Department of Emergency Services (NDDES). It was an opportunity to not only wish him well, but also to see a lot of folks I have not seen in awhile. It was, in a word – nice.
I used to get out to Bismarck to visit the folks at NDDES at least a couple of times a year, but life got hectic and a few years passed before I knew it. I realized while I was there yesterday that I missed the place and the faces. I felt fortunate to have the opportunity to get there yesterday and spend a little time catching back up with some of my favorite folks.
I traveled to Bismarck with one of our recent grads, Jeana, who recently accepted a position out there. It was nice to be able to introduce her to some of the folks she will soon come to know well. I found it oddly reaffirming of the whole cycle of life concept as I watched an emergency management veteran retire and with a recent graduate at the outset of her career. Life marches on.
Of course the bonus in any trip to Bismarck is I get to see my pal Mary who is the emergency manager in Burleigh County. Getting to spend the evening laughing, catching up, and comparing notes on this, that, and the other is a rare treat. I wish I could do it more often. There is never enough time to get in all the conversation we’d like to when we are together.
On the way home today, Jeana and I were fortunate to be able to stop in Jamestown and have lunch with my old pal Jerry, Stutsman County’s emergency manager, and his new assistant emergency manager, Sarah (another one of our alumni). It was a great opportunity to catch up on all kinds of things that have gone on since we last had an opportunity to speak. Lunch with Jerry, Sarah, and Jeana was a perfect wrap-up to a quick two day trip.
Seeing all those folks reminded me of why I so love emergency management – the people. They are just good folks trying to keep communities and the state safe. Folks who are committed to the notion that their efforts can make a difference. Those are my kind of people and seeing all those familiar faces and revisiting all the laughs we’ve had did my heart good.
Day one thousand two hundred and seventy of the new forty – obla di obla da