Micon Remarks – LUM Retirement Follies

LUM Retirement Follies – Friday, March 6, 2020
Remarks by Joe Micon, LUM Executive Director

Thank you.  I am overwhelmed – and I am not someone who is easily overwhelmed. 

I am so beautifully overwhelmed.

There are so many to thank.  First, please see the program for a complete list of acknowledgements.

I wish to thank Bishop Timothy Doherty who frequently makes visits to the LUM office.  Your presence provides such encouragement and affirmation to all of us on the LUM staff.

Thank you to Fr. Patrick Baikauskas for allowing LUM to come to St. Tom’s for this celebration.  You have been the embodiment of God’s love here on Purdue’s campus everyday since 2008.

What a special joy to have Jud Dolphin here – LUM’s former Executive Director, my friend, mentor, a drum major for justice.  Also Rev. Don Nead, Jim Davidson, Mary Anderson and Ellen Elly.

Thank you Mayor Tony Roswarski and Mayor John Dennis for always being supportive and always being partners. Our community is so fortunate to have two such outstanding mayors.

I would like to lift up my good friend, the legendary, late West Lafayette Mayor Sonya Margerum.   Sonya was so supportive of LUM.  She encouraged me to run for state office and who worked so hard on my campaigns. How I wish she would have been able to be here with us all tonight.

President Martin and Patty Jischke and Chancellor David Bathe of Ivy Tech — Thank you for your friendship of LUM and for your many years of leadership in our community, state and beyond.

Thank you State Rep. Chris Campbell, who currently serves in the seat I once held. I am so proud of the work you are doing and the difference you are making.  And then there are my good friends and former colleagues State Rep. Sheila Klinker and State Senator Ron Alting.  

In these divided and partisan times how fortunate it is for our communities to have THREE such hard working, dedicated, intelligent, legislators representing us at the Statehouse.  They are always Purdue’s and Ivy Tech’s biggest fans. They always put our community first. They always work tirelessly for the betterment of our great state.  

I would like to acknowledge my many Warren County friends and neighbors who are here.

LUM Board members past and present, thank you for allowing me to serve all these years, for encouraging me to be more bold when I was being too timid, and for on occasion pulling back on the reins when I was perhaps moving ahead too far or too fast.  We have accomplished great things together.

To our outstanding LUM staff, how fortunate I have been to be able to spend my days working together with you.  I will miss your good humor, collaboration, inspiration and boundless energy.

Thanks to the pastors and clergy of LUM’s member churches.  You have always been supportive of LUM, and a friend to me. You have volunteered, served on the board, spoken highly of LUM not only among your own church membership, but also when you have been out and about in the wider community.  Whenever I have called upon you have always said “yes.”

Thank you LUM After School Program students.  Keep reading. It introduces you to fascinating people and takes you to unbelievable places.  Reading makes you strong. What an honor to have Bailey the reading dog here with us. And remember, “Balloons blow, don’t let them go!” 

Thank you LUM campers, counselors and clowns.  How much fun have we had together? How much learning have we instilled?

Eileen Weiss and Pablo Malavenda – thank you both for organizing and directing  this major, major undertaking. Thank you for your extraordinary grace and kindness.

Please offer a round of applause for all of our performers.  Jeffrey Auguste, by the way, is a student in Ivy Tech’s outstanding Human Services Program. He just completed his internship at LUM,  Jeffrey and his family immigrated to our community from Haiti. How proud we are of you. Thank you for sharing your beautiful voice tonight.

Jo Greathouse Micon is Dean of the School of Public affairs and Social Services at Ivy Tech.  I can’t even imagine how difficult it has been for her to keep up with her professional life while at the same time being so supportive of mine.  Jo has not only been my wife and the mother of our children, but my best friend. Thank you for everything Jo. I am so very lucky to get to spend the rest of my days together with you.  Our son Jonathan, daughter Katie and son-in-law Robby Stewart are here, as are our close friends Roger, Joyce and Ashley Detzner.  I love you guys.

Two Decembers ago I wrote a Christmas letter for LUM that drew upon a poem by Alfred Lord Tennyson: “Ring Out Wild Bells.  Linda Hicks and our bulk mail volunteers will remember it because they printed, stuffed and stamped some 4,000 copies of it.  While I was researching Tennyson I came across these words and filed them away for night such as tonight. He said:

“We are part of all that we have met
And though much has been taken from us, yet still more abides
That which we are, we all are together
One equal temper of heroic hearts
Strong in will to strive, to seek, to find, and not to yield.”

To each of you who have been such an important part of LUM’s work;  To each of you who have shown so much friendship and support; To each of you who have come this evening to celebrate our shared accomplishments – thank you.  We are all indeed “One equal temper of heroic hearts.”

And to all those whose cares have been our concern at LUM, many of you who are here this evening – children, parents, all those who have shown such quiet dignity as sometimes you have coped and struggled just to get by – I thank you most of all. I thank you for your lessons of humility, trust and dignity – for showing me what faithfulness truly means. During my many years of service, I have learned the most from you.

Good friends all, this has been an evening I will not soon forget.  How grateful I am for the love you have shown here. While my time at LUM has now drawn to a close, I take with me such blessed assurance that our shared cause, the important work of LUM, will continue faithfully into the future.  What a remarkable ride this has been.   

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