This evening (Saturday Jan 30) I had the honour of attending Ken Watson’s celebration of his years of service as City Manager and Engineer for the City of Port Alberni.
Even though I grew up in Port Alberni, I am of course a bit of an outsider when it comes to the City workplace having been around for barely a year and also being a (near)millenial in a place where baby boomers still dominate but are now retiring at a rapid pace. However, after 15 years in my own workplace at VIU and watching my own parents retire, I understand the bonds that are made over long periods when the same people work and really live most of their lives together.
In less than a year I have now been to two celebrations for employees for the City, Scott Kenny and now Ken Watson. In both cases the outpouring of respect and heartfelt thanks for their years of service has been something to behold.
The dignitaries and community leaders that came out for Mr. Watson, the serious and silly and good hearted speeches, the emotions and impassioned statements and Mr. Watson’s own words all confirm that he is a man who has earned the respect of a whole community over the years.
Personally, I credit Mr. Watson for helping put me in the Council seat that I am in today. Were he not always so willing to answer every overly detailed email from me, often in a matter of minutes after sending it, when I started to engage in city issues when I moved back to town then I probably would not have continued on, becoming more and more engaged. He even seemed to like graphs and charts and spreadsheets like me… always the mark of great guys.
Now, as a rookie councillor, he always provided me solid and timely information and answered every question no matter how mundane or naïve.
Most of all though what I have witnessed is Mr. Watson’s great respect for and from those who he worked with at City Hall. He is a true leader and I know he will be proud of his accomplishments.
I write this so that a few more citizens of Port Alberni may know the excellent people that work for their City and who have nothing but the best for the City and its citizens in their hearts.
Thank You Ken. You literally helped shape the Port Alberni I grew up in and all its citizens are in your debt for your service.