President and CEO Bob Carter walks in to a room full of friends and family Monday night to celebrate his retirement.
The jig was up Monday night when Friendship Centers President and CEO Bob Carter started to put the pieces together.
He was staying late at the office to attend a party to show appreciation for volunteer medical professionals. However, he noticed that there were too many cars in the parking lot for an event of that size. Then he recognized previous board members and neighbors in attendance. It became clear that the room full of colleagues, friends and family were all there for him.
"They tricked me here," Carter said. "I'm trying to hold back the emotions."
Although his official final day isn't until Dec. 31, Carter has decided to take a final vacation before retiring. Guests were invited to share their memories and appreciation for Carter. Current Senior Vice President Erin McLeod was first to take the microphone.
"After 28-plus years, there's no way you don't realize what a difference you make," McLeod said. "Now I know you're a phone call away and I'm not alone."
McLeod was appointed to take over as the new President and CEO starting Jan. 1. She took the opportunity to address guests and thank Carter for his leadership. She gave Carter a parting gift of a sculpture with a quote inscribed on the base "The best way to predict the future is to create it." The phrase has a special meaning for Carter who has helped create the future at Friendship Centers for 28 years.
Since Carter joined the organization in 1988 there have been two Senior Services Campuses built as well as Centers for Healthy Aging and Caregiver Resource Centers. Some of the crucial programs put in place under his leadership include Friendship at Home and Senior Economic Security.
Another gift from staff members included an apron, a whisk and private cooking lessons with chef Paul Mattison. Carter has mentioned to staff members how much he looks forward to using his time to take up cooking and relaxing.
"I'm really looking forward to naps." Carter said.
Join the Neighborhood! Our 100% local content helps strengthen our communities by delivering news and information that is relevant to our readers. Support independent local journalism by joining the Observer's new membership program — The Newsies — a group of like-minded community citizens, like you. Be a Newsie.