On March 31, 2008 I wrote my first post for “Steve’s Blog,” and today will be my last time writing on this blog, as I am retiring at the end of August.
Sometimes it takes just minutes to express what I am thinking about and at other times — like today — the words come much harder.
Being the founding President/CEO of this Foundation has been such a privilege. It is an honor to have worked with outstanding board and CAC members and, of course, the Health Forward associates are simply the BEST!
The fair, ethical and transparent practices of the Foundation have been a hallmark of our first nine years. Much thanks to our board and associates for making this Foundation such a worthwhile place to work. In addition, together we — Health Forward, our community partners and other local and national funders — have accomplished so much, including establishing the clean indoor air laws throughout our region.
But there is so much more to do.
My biggest regret is that the Missouri voters did not agree to increase the tobacco tax last year. Hopefully, this Foundation will work with others to once again give Missouri voters the opportunity to do the right thing by raising the tobacco tax, which will improve the health conditions of our residents.
In addition, it is hard to believe how partisan we have become at the federal and state level. Government is at a gridlock and trust in government is at an all-time low. That saddens me. Without a strong government and a vibrant entrepreneurial economy our freedoms, our hopes of living the American dream and our civil rights that we all take for granted today will be hard to protect. We can do better!
Retirement seemed like a foreign concept when I was younger, but now it sounds so exciting. Retirement does not mean slowing down and simply taking it easy; it means that in the last quarter of your journey in life you have more flexibility to serve others.
For a few months my wife and I hope to travel and do things that we have not had time to do but have talked about for almost 40 years. Then the real fun of retirement begins as we get to start new adventures that take advantage of our passion, energy and experience. We hope to be active participants in our community and we look forward to joining many of you in upcoming community projects.
Every week or so, I write this blog but two people edit my words so that I sound more literate. Thanks to Jennifer Sykes and Natasha Sims for your editing skills, friendship and support.
I am happy to report that the incoming Health Forward President/CEO, Dr. Bridget McCandless, will share her thoughts on her own blog — Bridget’s Blog — when she arrives in the first week of September. I will be reading and I hope you will, too. Bridget has a passion for the work of the Foundation and her posts will be informative and fun to follow.
Finally, to our loyal “Steve’s Blog” readers, thanks for your leadership, support and friendship. Your feedback made writing the blog an enjoyable experience and hopefully the blog provided you with some useful information.