How do I say this? Finding the words to describe what happened during Paul’s last day of work at Semiahmoo House Society is somewhat of a challenge.
We were together, we ate cake and we took pictures. Typically, the word that would come to mind is “celebrate”, but if you look up the word, the first definition is “show happiness at something”. This is definitely not fitting because nobody was happy about Paul’s leaving.
Looking down the list of definitions, more appropriate synonyms emerge: acclaim, commend, applaud, remember, honour and praise. That is how 250 people celebrated Paul on his last day as Executive Director.
Over his 15-year tenure, Paul created many programs that touched the lives of people and made a difference in the community. During Paul’s Retirement Tea, people who participate in those programs lined up at the microphone waiting their turn at the chance to tell Paul their heartfelt farewell. While they spoke, a theme was clearly emerging as illustrated in the word cloud.
People further expressed their gratitude by presenting Paul their beautifully crafted creations.
Paul and Janet, his wife, were visibly moved as they approached the podium.
Janet was first to speak. Fighting back tears, she addressed the crowd, “You are wonderful. Paul will miss you and so will I. Thank you for being a big part of our lives.”
“Brrrrr!” said Paul, tissue in hand. “When I took the job here 15 years ago, I was coming home. I’ve been blessed beyond all imagining. God has touched my life in ways that most people are never aware of, just because I’ve been allowed to be with you. I am a better person because of you.”
Thank you for everything, Paul Wheeler. We love you and miss you. Come and visit often.
Semiahmoo House Society, a non-profit organization located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to provide quality services and supports to people with disabilities and their families in the community.
The Semiahmoo Foundation, located in Surrey/White Rock, exists to fund, support and enhance the programs and services delivered by Semiahmoo House Society.