I am honored to be able to tell you about the amazing journey my life has taken since starting at Osco #874 as a part-time clerk in the Muncie Mall (Indiana) back in November 1980. I will forever be indebted to John Hathcock and Myron Hervey for giving an “awkward” teenager a chance of a lifetime.
Although I expected this to be just a part-time job through high school and college, it turned into the career of a lifetime! I moved over 20 times, lived in 8 States and held positions I would never have dreamed of over 33 years. My final position was vice president of Human Resources for Albertsons Southern California and Las Vegas, NV….which ended in April 2013.
Of all my work experiences, the best part of all those 33 years are the absolute best working family and amazing people that helped me to be better than I thought I was and supported me, always. I am glad to call a huge number of those people I was introduced to in my career as Life Long Friends and Family.
So today, at the age of 51 I am able to live an early retirement dream of feeding the hungry. Since joining the Board of Directors for THE GREATER BOSTON FOOD BANK back in 2004, I fell in love with the work the food bank world was doing and dreamed of when I would retire and join the cause full time. When I left Albertsons (I call it my retirement although it didn’t qualify for retirement benefits), I had been so blessed that I didn’t even consider looking for another job, but instead focused on how I could join a team at one of the Feeding America food banks in either Indiana or Arizona.
I volunteered at several locations in Indiana for the spring/summer of 2013 and when I was planning to head back to Arizona for the winter, Second Harvest Food Bank of East Central Indiana offered me a role as Director of Food Procurement and Volunteers………I jumped at the opportunity and started my retirement career!
I spent a year at Second Harvest in Muncie, IN and enjoyed all aspects of the role and even enjoyed being the “NEW” guy with so much to learn. What I didn’t enjoy was the winter, so when I had an opportunity to join the team at St. Mary’s Food Bank Alliance in Phoenix, AZ (the actual first food bank in the US!), I jumped at it. I have been here at St. Mary’s as the Sr. Food Resource Developer since October 2014 and continue to love what I am doing.
Currently besides working with retail donors, produce growers and distributors, I am also working to develop St. Mary’s first Urban Educational Garden here in a parking lot. We are going to utilize raised bed farming, container farming and even kiddie pools to plant in and then teach our clients and community how they can raise their own food for sustainability.
I certainly hope that you all get a chance to visit a local food bank and see how great the need is across the US and how one person can make a difference…….maybe that person is you and you were just looking for an opportunity. If so….e-mail me and I’ll give you any support I can from my seat here at St. Mary’s (JJN31@prodigy.net).
God Bless and thanks to each of you the role you probably played in my amazing career with Osco, American Stores, Albertsons and Supervalu.