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Beginnings and Endings

by Melissa Brunner

As I sat in the audience Sunday afternoon watching our nephew and his friends accept their high school diplomas, I couldn't help but wonder what the future had in store.

This joyous milestone came hours after learning of the death of our colleague and friend, Elmer Gunderson. Elmer worked as an engineer at WIBW-TV for nearly 58 years. He started in 1955 and was on the job until he was hospitalized in early April. It is an amazing career with an amazing legacy.

I couldn't help but wonder as I watched Tyler and his friends accept their diplomas - would they find a career they loved as much as Elmer loved his? With some surveys showing most people stay at any one workplace an average of four years, I couldn't help but wonder - will these young people find a workplace to which they feel as much loyalty as Elmer felt to WIBW? You hear about the new "me" generation of workers demanding vacation and other benefits and I couldn't help but wonder - will these grads display the dedication and selflessness to their jobs which Elmer did to his? I think about all the people we've heard from these past days and weeks, sharing their memories about Elmer and I couldn't help but wonder - will this future generation take the time to impact their colleagues and lift them up the way Elmer touched all of us?

I hope they all do. Elmer is a testament to the importance of hard work and dedication. He leaves a legacy of mentorship through quiet leadership, rather than a forceful hand. He reminds of the joy that can come from doing a job and doing it well. He also shows us that life is a continual education - there's always new knowledge to pursue, new challenges to conquer - and complaining about the journey won't bring you any closer to the goal.

May you all find an Elmer in your workplace - and find a bit of Elmer in yourself.

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