Another year in the books and a huge THANK YOU to each of you who made what I think is our 10th year another huge success. In my new role this year of being one of the JAM employees responsible to oversee worker groups, I can tell that having a group like ours makes it very easy for the JAM. I also find out how other groups have tried to expand their numbers or had their numbers shrink, while at the same time our group continues to be asked to bring even more people each year. That is a direct reflection on 10 years of dedication by each and every person who has worked on the IAB group. We come there first to do the job we are being paid to do…and that stands out.
This year in my new job, I had to flag a person from another group and essentially terminate them because they didn’t understand that the worker wristband means you have a job to do, rather than a free way to get into the JAM. End of story…you’re gone and you put your entire group at risk for future work. I can say we’ve never had that issue within the IAB.
Quite a few folks ask how much of a hassle it is to get a full slate of 34 workers each year and express disappointment when they hear of cancellations and shifting numbers for our group as we work to fill out our worker list year. However, I can assure you that it’s not a hassle. What I see is 50-60 people who each year take days out of their lives to help ILHS, and who make extraordinary efforts to make each year a success. Life happens and I always know that something will pop up, plans changes, and our numbers will shift. Yet every time that happens and I wonder if perhaps we may end up short….new faces, names, and old veterans of past Jams step up and I find myself with extra names.
Last week when we had some cancellations just a few days before Jam, I had people offering to double shift, people recruiting friends, and a late email on Friday evening from folks in the Twin Cities ready to hop in a car on Friday to help us out if we were short. Folks who had to cancel on one night offered to come on one of the other nights because they felt a commitment to our effort. Wonderful and very heartwarming to see people’s response.
I think we may had a record number of new folks join us this year which is always exciting because after one Jam….we’re all veterans and our pool of expertise in Jamnification grows. There is no way we can run this group however without the core of returning veteran Jammers who have done for 2,3,4,5,6,7,8,9, and 10 straight years.
I know the JAM will be adding more numbers to the security force since they shorted the Saturday evening shift by 8-9 folks, and will be looking to boost that number next year. Plus without the four folks we brought each day this year…we’d have been trouble trying to fill the most minimal spots for security. So stay tuned to see if our numbers grow again next year. I’m starting to take reservations already!!!!
Finally some ‘awards’….
- Last Man Standing Lifetime Achievement Award for never missing a single day since we started this group 10 years ago…Mark Franson. He is the only one left and he retained that status this year by making every day.
- The Iron Man Award for most shifts in 2013 goes to Steve Sydow who worked a double shift on Thur and Friday, and another single shift on Saturday.
- Rookie Iron ManAwards for first year workers doing all three days, go to:
- Joe Naumann for working three days…Youth Division (i.e. under 30 years of age)
- Matt Schaser for working three days…Elder Division (i.e. over 40 years of age)
- Dave Rodebaugh for working three days..Elder Division
- Veteran Tough Person Awards for that core of returning folks who make our group hum by working three days and make it very easy and comfortable for new folks to join us because they have veterans all around them.
- Mike Bomber
- Dave Johannes
- Dan Johannes
- Mark Kranz
- Sue McDonald
- Mary Ryan
- Ron Ryan
- Pete Sydow
- Finally…If I Could You All A Big IAB Hug I Would Award
- Everyone else who took time out of their week to be a part of the IAB group and work the JAM. Can’t thank you enough!
Thanks again!!!! And, hopefully see you all next year!
P.S. At this point, I plan on working for JAM again next year, and in that role I may have more ability to get things changed. If any of you saw anything in your job that could be changed to make the Jam better, let me know and I’ll discuss with the Jam folks to see if we can’t make it happen. I’ve already collected a few.
Tom Beekman, P.E.
WisDOT NW Region Systems Planning Chief
Eau Claire, WI 54701
Office (715) 836-4628
Cell (715) 579-4596