Jim Stock was a 16-year-old kid when he made his way from a local employment office to a job in the City of Red Deer’s water and sewer department.
On Friday, the City of Red Deer’s longest serving employee hung up his hard hat for the last time, drawing to a close a 46-year-old career.
Stock was overseeing a water main replacement in Riverside Meadows when he took a few minutes to look back.
He wouldn’t change a thing, he says.
“What kept me here is the people I work with are just outstanding,” he says. “The biggest thing with me is the people I actually work with out in the field.
“It’s just a great place to work. I couldn’t ask for anything more, I honestly couldn’t.
“No regrets whatsoever. It’s just been a great career with the City of Red Deer.”
After joining the city, he worked his way up from that first job in the water and sewer department.
“You’re 16 years old and you’re rarin’ to do anything at that time,” he says.
He soon moved into the construction side of the city’s operations, going on to operate heavy equipment at the landfill site. A summer temporary foreman job, eventually became full-time foreman, capped off a couple of years to promotion as a field foreman, overseeing three other foreman-led work crews.
In the office every day by 5:45 a.m., Stock admits being retired seems a little strange.
“I’m looking forward to it. But, you know, at the same time I’m a little nervous,” he says.
“I mean 46 years you work and all of a sudden you decided to retire. It does give you a little different feeling in your guts, let me tell you.”
Jim, who has been married to Debbie for 34 years and has a 23-year-old daughter Desiree, said he doesn’t have any immediate big plans.
“I’m not planning on too much of anything this summer. I haven’t had a summer off since I’ve been 16 years old.
“I’m just looking to have all the summer off, kicking around and basically relaxing and enjoying myself.”
An avid hunter and fisherman, he will have time to do more of that, and he and his wife will likely do some travelling in the fall. Summer was always the busiest time of year for his city work so he always left his holidays until September.
One of his first jobs in retirement will be resetting his 5 a.m. wake-up call.
“You know what, I ‘ll probably still end up getting up at that same time every morning for a little while,” he says with a chuckle.
“Hopefully, that changes over the next little bit.”
On his last day on the job, his co-workers threw him a party in the construction offices beginning at 7 a.m.
He was touched that Mayor Tara Veer stopped by to congratulate him.
“I was shocked when I saw her,” he says. “That was really nice.”