From a speech by Ken Ewert at Rob's 60th birthday.
About 15 years ago, we had a significant decision to make. Our painting business had just lost of two of our three managers, and we had two candidates we were considering for hire: The first was articulate, talented, and sincere. The second person had an impressive knowledge of cheap hole-in-the-wall restaurants, and a prodigious head size about which he liked to say: “I had the largest hat size in the entire VPD.”
We hired Rob.
This was one of the best business decisions of my life.
Having Rob changes everything
A dozen years ago when Sarrah came to work for us, it was Rob who made her feel at home. Rob looked at her newly styled hair one day and asked: “So, you were saying your boyfriend Ryan is a hair-dresser, is that right?” “Yes,” she said. “So,” he said, “did you ever consider asking Ryan if he could do something with your hair?”
She laughed. We all laughed. And we’ve been laughing ever since. Each time a Manager leaves the office, our new receptionist Sam likes to say: “Hey! Be safe out there.” After a couple of times, on his way out the door Rob turned to Sam and said, with exaggerated emphasis: “Hey Sam... Be safe IN HERE.”
At numerous times when things are stressful Rob walks in and makes us laugh. More than once he has diffused a tense situation with a Customer by making them laugh - sometimes against their will! He gets away with saying things that no one else can! It’s a mystery. It’s a gift.
Rob brings out the humour in all of us. When he goes away for the winter, we drywall over his office doorway, or bolt a toilet into the floor in place of his chair at the desk. Routinely we change his email signature to some clever derivation. Most recently, he has gone several weeks signing his emails as “Rob Buck.” Dave finds pleasure in sneaking outside of Rob’s office window in the pre-dawn hours and endeavoring to send Rob to his eternal reward by jumping out and pounding on the window. Rob leaps in the air and screams like a schoolgirl. They laugh like brothers.
A servant heart
But Rob brings more than hilarity. He is competent. He is extraordinarily organized. And he is a servant. Countless times I have asked: “Rob, can you do the devotional for our next Manager’s meeting?” “Yes,” he says. Every time - “yes.”
Rob loves spicy food and tabbasco-laced beer. But above all, he is aficionado of people. He forged such a friendship with our competitor that the competitor insisted that the Becks stay in their home in Croatia.
He has spent hundreds of hours making deep friendships with several of our Foremen, having them over, cooking them chili, roasting a lamb with them, and even sacrificially drinking their palinka! That is Rob.
I’ll say one last thing about Rob, and this I believe to be most impressive: After 60 years, Rob is not settling into a stale lethargy in his walk with God.
I’ve left Kitty out of this till now, but I’ll end by referring to both of you. I see you continue to grow in your faith and sacrificially live your faith out. You live it out! You come alongside people. You lay down your life for others, as you follow Jesus. Thank you for your example to us!
Happy 60th birthday Rob! You are a great blessing to me, to us, and we thank God for you.
To Him be the glory!