Steve Kern is a planner
When he retired in 2010 from the Sarasota County Fire Department after 25 years of service, he worked the two years prior deciding if his second career was going to work out. He traveled from Bradenton to Ocala every week on his off duty days to be put into a territory that was dying. He wasn’t a sales guy but what he WAS, was the lover of E-ONE fire equipment. He knew it inside out, upside down and all the way around. He didn’t know sales lingo but he knew how to make fire Departments comfortable and they knew they could count on him and be dependable. He has since then proven himself to be a kick ass sales guy and I am his biggest fan.
Five years ago, he gave REV his notice. On December 1, 2022 he said “I will be making changes. I don’t know what that looks like, but I want you to have plenty of time to know where I stand.”
FIVE years people.
Who gives five years notice?
We have planned.
We have a financial strategy.
We are prepared and while it’s on on paper how it will work, it’s still terrifying. It’s hard to know how you will feel when things change. You are home…… a lot. You don’t get up each and every morning, put on your work uniform and leave the house.
Time after time people ask Steve “what are you going to do with all your free time?” If I’m in the area, I usually listen carefully. I’m not sure how this will work and I’ve suggested he find a hobby and for anyone that knows me, I will ALWAYS, in capital letters, have something for him to do.
But really? It’s really ok to not have a plan. It’s ok to take a walk in the morning or swing on the front porch swing. It’s ok to be board. I can probably count on both hands how many times Steve has sat around and did nothing. It’s going to be very different in a really good way.
Steve has worked most of his life. During our early married life he sometimes worked two and three jobs so that I could stay home and raise our kids. A lot of times with little to no sleep based on the amount of calls he ran on in the middle of the night.
It would be easy and comfortable to just keep life status quo.
Bring in the paycheck.
Go on a couple nice vacations a year.
But recently we have witnessed people dying in their prime.
46, 60 and most recently 62.
Steve just turned 60 on Thursday and y’all are here tonight to help us celebrate.
I don’t want to have regrets. I don’t want to wonder “what if.”
Again with the planning…. Over a year ago, while we were talking about the upcoming year, he mentions a party.
Steve wants a party?
He wants One Flite Up to play at his party.
He wants to celebrate his birthday and his new season of life.
Who has Thanksgiving, a huge Birthday, a terminally ill father, a camping trip and Christmas all in a 6 week period? Obviously we do. Holidays we have no control, no one wants their loved ones to be sick and sometimes I think we look for chaos, but while life is hard and the holidays are not always joyous, you do it with grace. I watch you in your strengths and sometimes in your weaknesses rarely varying from excellence.
I’m all about a party so here we are.
Thank you for coming.
Thank you for whatever part you play in our story.
Here’s to the new and improved.
I love you