Boilermaker Blog

We Have Been Blessed


“I’ll have a blue Christmas without you
I’ll be so blue just thinking about you
Decorations of red on a green Christmas tree
Won’t be the same dear, if you’re not here with me”
Elvis Presley

The end of the year is marked with the inevitable lists chronicling: best songs, worst movies, sexiest celebrities etc. of the year.
And there is the sad list of famous folks who have passed away in 2016.
As an aside, this year was simply a horrible year for music- lots of losses.
And this year the Boilermaker lost two incredibly loyal volunteers Ted Petrillo and Julie Fatata.
Ted and Julie were different in gender, age and personality: for example ‘bubbly’ would not be the first word I would use to describe Ted.
Yet in spite of these differences, their passion for the Boilermaker burned equally bright.
And they did it for all of nothing: well, not for nothing.
Perhaps it was for the personal satisfaction of making the community a better place.
Perhaps it was the social interaction, working with old friends or friends not yet made.
Or perhaps just to bring a smile to someone’s face, often a person they don’t even know.
Simply amazing people!
Sometimes, there are folks in our community, hopefully only a few, that seem to perversely thrive on talking down our area (which, by the way, is their area). In the military we would refer to that as ‘calling artillery in on your own position’.
Julie and Ted were the absolute antithesis of this: if I were to make up a motto for them it would be “go positive or go home”.
The passing of Ted& Julie acts both as a reminder of the temporal nature of life and the criticality of finding folks like them to support the Boilermaker, indeed any not for profit group.
The Boilermaker, like many service-based agencies, is fueled by the efforts of its volunteers.
And we all want the folks who are busy, because those are the people who get things done.
Think about it, we are asking folks to give up their most valuable asset, time, to make the Boilermaker, and all its efforts happen. Our challenge, in many respects, is harder than businesses trying to hire good folks- at least a future employee get paid: our volunteers get a tee shirt (well, it is a pretty nifty tee shirt)!
I had said to a reporter at Ted’s passing “they don’t make them like Ted anymore” (ditto Julie): yet somehow we need to inspire folks to be in their image- to embrace the philosophy of service over self (as opposed to being self serving).
I know, somehow, we’ll figure this out -indeed it’s mission critical we do!
But for now, I just feel more than a little down over the loss of a couple of folks that were wonderful volunteers and fantastic friends!
To Ted and Julie’s families: thank you for ‘lending’ us these two, as I’m sure they missed family obligation to make the Boilermaker frequently called ‘Christmas in July’ happen.
A blue Christmas indeed…

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