Thanks For Nine Wonderful Years, Chris Jacobs

chris2We’re a bit sad to pass the word along that, after nine great years as our Head of Maintenance, Chris Jacobs has decided to hang up his Pemi tool belt and hard hat. Chris first joined us in 2004, and confesses that the learning curve was steep as he came to grips with the miles of water and electrical lines, the heating and refrigeration systems, the mechanical foibles of a half dozen camp vehicles and machines, the dozens of suppliers and contractors we work with, and the whole, complex, eight-month routine of opening, sustaining, and shutting down the physical plant without which Pemi simply couldn’t be Pemi.

Tirelessly committed, energetic, and resourceful from day one, though, Chris quickly mastered all of the practical tasks and protocols of his position and became one of the best Maintenance Heads Pemi has known. No job was too hard or too dirty for Chris, and his cheerful oversight of the folks who worked for him meant that they were always able to give their best as well. Anyone who has been at Pemi in the last decade will see the results of Chris’s high standards for the physical plant, from the health and beauty of the grass fields to the upkeep of camp’s 50-plus buildings to the laborious upgrading of the electrical systems in the whole camp (with the cables now going underground).

Every bit as impressive, though, is Chris’s respect and care for everyone he has worked with at Pemi, be they chef or director or counselor or nurse or the youngest camper in Junior One. Chris is the quintessential New Englander – soft spoken, thinking long before he replies, direct and honest, holder of strong opinions but always willing to listen, blessed with a subtle but unmistakable sense of dry humor.

After nine full years with us, Chris has decided it’s time for a change. What does he have in mind? A combination of contracting and forestry, he says. What are his favorite memories of Pemi? Probably campfires; though he didn’t go to many, he said, he felt the generous and friendly spirit of Pemi was never more in evidence than Saturday nights at the Senior Beach.  Will we see him in coming years? Absolutely, for, as Chris says, he’s right down the road.

Thanks for nine wonderful years, Chris. We’ll remember you driving into camp at 7:30 every morning, ready to start another day “behind the scenes” but giving us a gorgeous, safe, and functioning physical setting for everything we do. We’ll remember you eating lunch out behind the kitchen, laughing with Brandon, and Reed, and Chris, and Paul, fueling up for an afternoon’s hard work. We’ll remember you showing up at 10 PM on a Sunday night, lightning flashing and rain thundering down, as you’ve driven a half hour from home to make sure everything’s okay, that we still have electricity, that none of the roofs are leaking. We’ll also remember your love-hate relationship with those Canada geese, chasing them across the soccer field while we ate breakfast on a sunny July morning, or carrying one you’d caught gently in your arms, making jokes about a roast for the night’s supper but holding the frightened bird with a tenderness that was unmistakable.

You’ve brought so much to Pemi, and we hope you take even a fraction as much away with you. Here are thanks for the past and hopes for the future, Chris. Good luck, long life, and joy!