One of the hardest things for me to do is to say "goodbye". I had my retirement lunch Friday for being with the Telecommunications Department for Hamilton County government after a little over 10 years. My last day is this Tuesday, the 24th.
To some, it doesn't make any difference, but to me, from working on televisions in the 70s, on Oscilloscopes for Tektronics, Pacific Bell working on some of the first 911 systems, Northern Telcomm on their large business phone systems or Hamilton County Telecommunications, they all had one huge thing in common. The people I worked with and the people I had to interact with.
I rarely, and can only think of a couple of times in the past 50 years that I had any issues. I look at the good side. I know there are a lot out there that don't care except about their jobs. Yes, the job is important, but what I will remember, are the people I saw and worked with daily. For example, the way I looked at it, when I arrived at a school or county office or whatever, to work on something, I always tried to see if I could put a smile on someone's face to maybe make their day just a little bit better. And most of the time, I could do it. And their smiles back at me were awesome.
I thank God for Him allowing me to interact with so many nice people and be given a chance to maybe brighten your day just a little. I will greatly miss all of you, it's been such a pleasure to know so many awesome people.
It wasn't peaches and cream all the time, sometimes I would be down a bit, and times I would have to apologize for not being in the best of moods, and it would get back to the way it was, your smiles and warm welcome across the county was and is and will always be appreciated and it helped me get through some tough challenges.
To all of you in the Telecomm Department, thank you all. To all those in the sheriff's department, courthouse, courts building engineering, health department, maintenance, juvenile court on Main Street and Third Street, the IT department, and all of you at all of the schools, secretaries we reported to, principals and all of the teachers, and every one at the McDaniel Building, and the county pharmacy and the security guards, thank you all. I enjoyed knowing and working with all of you.
And the one person I really want to thank and give my appreciate to for her support and love, is my wife, Carmel. We dated when we were 15 in Murphy N.C. and then I had to go back to Oregon, we got back together almost 40 years later, and for her, I wanted to give her the moon. And so, after we got back together, it was easy for me to be so up beat when I had to work and I wanted to share the happiness I had gotten after so many years. I always got a kick out of when I met someone at work, especially at the schools, people would say something about my accent, I'd tell them I was from Oregon, they would ask what brought me here to Chattanooga. Then I could tell them the story of how Carmel and I got back together after her husband had passed . That would put smiles on a lot of peoples faces. And even now after being married for almost 15 years it's there even more. So people could see and feel the happiness I feel and it would make others smile.
So, it's all tied together, the interaction between people, if you like people, and I do, happiness is contagious. I will really miss all of you. I don't take it lightly, "all of your friendships". Thank you for your smiles, the times together and working together. My hope is I hope that I was able to give others even just a little happiness, encouragement and day and a smile to make your day just a little bit better. If we happen to run across each other and I forget your names, please forgive me, just know how much all of you meant to me. Thank you again for allowing me to be part of your lives.
Your friend forever;
Steve F. Coker