I tell folks that it is important to learn from and listen to, and perhaps memorialize if possible the folks that are around us who do work and take care of things that we may never completely understand.  The depth of knowledge and experience that can be shared is invaluable.  I worry that we don’t always do that and what happens is we all start over again and try and reinvent the wheel.  It seems to be a peculiar human trait that we do not always learn from history and that everything did not start the day we were born.

There is an incredible knowledge and activity “dump” going on and we may not be aware of it.  Folks are coming of an age where the are retiring and sadly some are dying.  I have spent time on this blog bemoaning the lost of Evelyn Allensworth and Bill Sharpe this last year.  Evelyn’s work as the religion teacher at the All Faith’s Chapel also involved decorating seasonally, ordering client records and movements, community liaison, and as they say, things too numerous to mention.  Bill Sharpe was the same kind of multi tasking, wide range of activity position, that a job description would never quite cover.  Tammi Ulland will be a great business manager but her job would be a bit easier if we ever thought to have Bill write up a task list.  I am starting to get a handle on Evelyn’s shorthand and note taking that helps some but it is still a project.

I just heard of another retirement that should be noted.  Joan Buchop is retiring from Lutheran Social Services ND Disaster Response after 20 ½ years.  Today is her last day in the office and she retires the last day of the year.  She writes to her colleagues that “It has been my privilege to work beside you as we served those impacted by disasters and shared what is learned with others facing the same challenges.”

When Lutheran Church Missouri Synod World Relief and Human Care decided to build capacity to do our own disaster response rather than counting on others, Joan’s name was invoked as someone who was on the cutting edge of disaster response and developing protocols to facilitate volunteers and agency reactions.  She was a great resource for LSS and a wonderful ambassador for the work that they do.  Joan received the North Dakota Family Based Services Association special recognition award in 2011. She receive the reward because of the responses to immediate needs during the terrible flooding in Minot in 2011. She developed a case management system that provided data management for homes and homeowners affected by the flood. Her database allowed her to watch the progress of homeowners and their response to the flood as well as helping to anticipate needs that otherwise may have been a surprise. She was especially focused on the so-called “vulnerable populations in the community”. She was able to bring many agencies together to respond to the crisis in a family-based way.  That may sound like agency gobbelty gook but when your house is underwater and so is most of your community and support base, family based crisis response is a gift of God.

Anyway,  congratulation Joan and God bless you and your retirement.  Well done good and faithful servant.