|Passing the Torch|
|Written by Betty Plowman|
|Monday, 13 August 2012 13:05|
There is nothing like another birthday to give me time to pause and reflect on where I am and where I may be going. It seems like only yesterday that I was sure I would die before I could get my driver license, how innocent were those days. Now like so many baby-boomers I worry about retirement; will I have enough to live on? Will I have to move in with my children? When my mind really wanders to the negatives I picture myself in a tent on a river bank, fishing for my dinner.
The sad fact is that many of us who made our living as self-employed construction truckers never adequately prepared for our retirement. Yes, I started an IRA, numerous times, only to draw it out when times were hard, (usually to pay the IRS) always thinking I would make it up next year, and the next year. I also never dreamed that our housing would decline as it has, thinking that my home equity would not only provide for me but also give me something to leave to my heirs. Suddenly my next year is here, and nothing makes me realize it more than to see the retirements our government employees are receiving, as much in one year as I have put away for a lifetime. Is it any wonder our state, cities and counties are broke or going broke? Kids get ready, momma’s coming!
What was also important to me was instilling in my children a strong work ethic. All three of my sons are in construction, digging in the dirt – how could you do anything else with the surname Plowman? Like so many of you, my children learned from watching my husband and I start a business. What they did not see, were the sleepless nights, worries the stress we endured.
Never once have I had a government handout, which is why I was so deeply offended by President Obama’s recent statement that “You didn’t build that by yourself!” to business owners. Yes Mr. President, my deceased husband and I did build that business, with a whole lot of blood, sweat and tears. Employees came and went, but we were always there 24/7 because we had to be.
As each year passes, I see many of our members retiring, with their family members in the next generation moving up to take over the business. Young people, we need you and you need us. CCTA is fighting a huge battle; it is time for you to step up. I would guess that if attending a local chapter meeting is not high on your list of priorities; neither would be a Board Meeting. However, if you plan to make a living in this industry, we need to pass the torch to you and you need to help transform the business and industry into one that is professional and sustainable.
I traveled to Eureka recently for a meeting of the Redwood Chapter. Dorothy Bianchi has been the chapter chairperson for many years. Joining CCTA in 1990, Fred and Dorothy Bianchi followed son Dan into becoming an owner-operator with a transfer. Fred passed away in 2005 after a year-long battle with leukemia. Keeping the chapter records for all these years, Dorothy was ready to “Pass the Torch” and at our recent meeting, their son Dan Bianchi was elected Chapter Chair. Thank you, Dorothy, for your years of service and thank you Dan for stepping up as chapter chairman. The Redwood Chapter also graciously donated $500 to our scholarship fund, and we thank you for that.
So young people, if trucking is how you choose to make your living, please become involved with this association. We are fighting for you to succeed every day on every front. Someday you may also want to “Pass the Torch.” Let’s make sure there is something to pass on.
P.S. I do not mean to imply that my impending retirement is coming anytime soon. Currently I’m sound in both body and mind (so I like to think). If you value your chosen profession and industry, it is time to step up now.