Family Trip

My family took a trip last week to Mexico. It wasn’t a small affair, by any means, and there was only one person I was related to in the bunch. It was my Work Family, at SLR, and I got to bring my sister Margie as my Plus One. I have no idea how I stumbled into such a fantastic family, but I did and the only thing that sucked about it was they made us come home and go back to work. And even that wasn’t that bad, my liver could use the break.

Unlike the service industry, apparently roofing is very specialized. In Wisconsin you can find a bar on nearly every corner. Roofers, not so much. So when I was offered a position at one the most highly regarded roofing companies in our area, I learned in a quick hurry how special that was. I can pour drinks and serve food anywhere, but put a roof on a house and a family at ease that they are safe in secure in their home? That is something special. I learned a lot in a year in a half about how much this company cares, and that is very much inclusive of the employees.

They do nice stuff for us often, and coming in from an industry that puts a high value on a shift drink, that took a little getting used to and it was a big adjustment, believe it or not. Once a year, in the cold of winter, they will rent rooms at a local hotel that has a water park, for all of the employees and their families. They do a big dinner, and pay for the rooms and water park passes. We had a big pot luck in the spring, and they have bouncy houses and games for the kiddos, they rented a sno-cone truck for the event too. It was a lot of fun. There is a sports park place in town, that has mini-golf, go carts, batting cages, arcade games, and in the summer, they rent it out, cater in a nice dinner and pay for all the games and stuff for employees and families. They buy us lunches often, there are days when the boss calls in on his way and will order Starbucks for the office staff, all kinds of things. And it’s all genuine. It isn’t anything more than he wants us to think of each other as family, as more than just his employees. One of my old bosses would throw us a party on Memorial Day weekend but we had to bring our own booze. This job? They ask all the employees what each of us wants to drink for a party, he buys more than even I can drink, and sends us home with the leftover beer!

He has had it in his head that he wanted to do a company trip, for quite a few years. He was trying to do it last year, but the Covid squashed that dream. So he regrouped and did it this year. It was intended for employees who had been with the company 3 or more years. For different reasons, some declined on the trip, but he had those spots paid for, so some of us got the opportunity to fill those spots. I found out at the end of October I could go, and bring a guest. A few years ago, my sister, brother and I were supposed to go on a cruise together, and Margie had to cancel at the very last minute because of a medical issue with her husband. I always have felt bad she didn’t get to go, so I took this amazing opportunity to offer her a little make-up for that cruise experience. I cannot think of a scenario where I would have been able to do that otherwise, and I am forever grateful to my boss that we could go. And have all the fun. All of it.

Now, Shannon (my boss) likes to take care of people, and he did!! This thing was top notch all the way. We got flights, hotel rooms, suites at that, and more food and drinks than you should enjoy in four days. He also likes to have fun, and we did! At one point, I walked up to where he was, and I didn’t happen to have a drink in hand. He yells at me “Why aren’t you drinking more!?!” I quickly found a drink, because I can’t handle disappointing him like that. But it really truly was all about us, and how grateful he is to God, his family and the people he surrounds himself with to be the best roofing company in the area. It really all means something to him, and his gratitude oozes out of him. It really is something special to behold.

Mexico was lovely, the people were gracious and we were so well taken care of, that it almost seemed unreal. Margie and I said all weekend “Who does this?” Because not very many people do, or would do this for their employees. It really meant so much to me, and I sat on the balcony each night, just being so very, very grateful for this company, this man who had the vision of taking his “Family” on a vacation. For all of the jobs I had previously where I felt the family thing, but they couldn’t, or maybe wouldn’t, do something so very generous for the people carrying the weight of the company’s success. How things I did at those jobs made it possible for me to be at this job now, because every experience is a stepping stone for the next part of life.

Even though he insisted we don’t thank him for this, that he should be thanking us, I am going to say it anyway. Thank you, Shannon. From the second I hit “POST” when I went on Facebook asking if anyone knew of a place that was hiring, because my temporary Costco job was ending, and you said “Message me, I have something for you.” For being a friend, and for every little and big thing. You have added a spark of positivity in my life, you have a sparkle in your eyes that says “Come along, we are going to have a great time” and we do!! I only listed a few of the great things you do for us above, and there are more, but more than the “Things” you really truly do care about us. You have demonstrated it very well in big ways, but I want you to know, I notice the little things too. Thanks, truly, from my heart.

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