They make hard jobs look easy. They make everyone feel better. Sometimes, they even make coffee.
Every office has one, including this newsroom. I wouldn't want to embarrass ours (you know who you are, Jim Haley). While I don't mind tooting The Herald's horn, today there is something else to celebrate.
Hal Caywood turns 80 today.
"He just needs to be recognized for his work ethic," Marsha Lyons said when she called to talk about her co-worker at Telecom Network Specialists Inc. in Snohomish.
"The remarkable thing about this gentleman is he never misses a day of work. He works over 40 hours a week, he never takes a day off, he gets to the office at 4 a.m., and he makes the coffee. I wish I had his energy," said Lyons, an administrative assistant at the engineering firm.
"I just enjoy it," Caywood said when asked why, as an octogenarian, he plans to keep up his full-time schedule. "I retired once; I had 25 years with ITT," he said.
Caywood, who lives in Everett with his wife, Dorothy, said he's been back at work 16 years with Telecom Network Specialists. The company contracts with Verizon and other phone companies, doing the engineering to install fiber-optic equipment.
"I like to have something to do," Caywood said.
His boss concurred. Bill Viehmann, the company's engineering manager, called Caywood "the type of person who can't be idle."
"He's a good man, and he's a very young 80," Viehmann said.
Caywood is humble about his habits. "I've always come to work early. I'm not trying to be better than somebody else, but maybe it just takes me longer to get something done," he said.
As for the much appreciated coffee, he brews it for everyone but drinks plenty himself. By the time Lyons gets to work, she said Caywood "is about ready to go have breakfast," a croissant and apple juice at a nearby Burger King. Another daily habit is his Herald crossword puzzle.
Co-workers never hear him talk about retirement. "I don't think he'll ever leave here," Viehmann said.
"He watches his kids retire," Lyons added.
Caywood and his wife have seven children between them. His 62-year-old stepson, Richard Rooney, retired after 37 years with GTE.
Again and again while describing "this incredible man," Lyons mentioned Caywood's work ethic.
"I don't know, maybe a story like this could reach our kids," she said.
Our kids, and some of us, too.
We're all trying to be so model-perfect in the new year. We jot down resolutions and munch on celery. The last habit we bother with is how we do our jobs. We forget that those workhorses we see every day are role models, too.
There's a Woody Allen quotation I have always liked.
"Eighty percent of success is showing up," the comedian once said before proving himself to be no kind of role model at all.
Think of that philosophy these January mornings when it's cold and dark and tough to get out of bed. Think of it, and of 80-year-old Hal Caywood, who's been up for hours and has the coffee already made.
Contact Julie Muhlstein via e-mail at email@example.com, write to her at The Herald, P.O. Box 930, Everett, WA 98206, or call 425-339-3460.
More Local News Headlines
Judge won’t view barista videos at start of public records lawsuit Wanted: Twentysomethings for friendship ‘up north’ in Everett Man accused of leading police on rolling shootout faces more charges Popular Camano park’s old-timey store supports education programs Arlington police report progress with department makeover Front Porch: Help stuff a bus with school supplies In Uniform Applause
Our new comment system is not supported in IE 7. Please upgrade your browser here.