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!

7 thoughts on “Thanks For Nine Wonderful Years, Chris Jacobs

  1. I’m sad to hear that you’re leaving, Chris, but am so glad to have been with you at Pemi for the past nine years. I think I can speak for a lot of Pemi folks when I say that I was always inspired to see you “working your butt off” and smiling while you did it! We could all answer with a wholehearted (and probably very loud) “YES!” if you were to ask, as the Campfire song does, “and I wonder if anyone’s better for anything I’ve done or said…”

    Luckily, though, I’m sure we’ll see you around!

  2. Chris-we’ll really miss you. I value the time that we’ve spent together. I’ll miss our pre and post season chats and discussions. You’re leaving a huge hole both in Pemi’s staff and in Pemi’s spirit. Please don’t be a stranger.

  3. Chris – You’ve become a face of Pemi for me (and I’m sure many others). You’ll be missed! Best of luck with your future endeavors!

  4. Chris:
    Cory, Ryan, and I will miss having you around camp. It was always nice to have such an amiable person to maintain the strong connection between the counseling staff and the maintenance staff. All the best in your future endeavors!

  5. Without a doubt, Chris, you’ll be leaving enormous shoes to fill. Pemi’s face changes every year as the tide of staff ebbs and flows. But the family never changes. Thank you for the beautiful grounds, the security of the buildings year after year, and for teaching me how to paint a floor! Your skill will never be forgotten! I know you’ll do surpassingly well in whatever you pursue… so no luck needed!

  6. Chris, from my first days on the shores of Lower Baker back in 2009, I felt like a part of the Pemi family. You were certainly someone who made my transition to camp life all the more smooth. I can’t even tell you how grateful I am for all your hard work over the years, and for being such a great friend. We will definitely be in touch soon. All the best.

  7. Chris
    Even on my first day working at camp I sensed the care, pride and devotion you took in the Stewardship of Pemi. Not only in its physical appearance but also in 100 + years of culture that is very much still a part of camp. Many times I observed you walking or biking the grounds and stopping to toss an errant baseball or Frisbee back to a camper taking the time to talk with campers or counselors alike. You will be missed by all.
    I wish you much happiness and success in your new endeavors.

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