A Legendary Retirement, Val Johnson

July 25, 2016

Webster's Dictionary defines a legend as "a famous or important person who is known for doing something extremely well; a person who inspires." McGee, Hearne & Paiz, LLP (MHP) is saying farewell to someone who is the definition of a legend. Val Johnson, Report Processing Specialist, is retiring from MHP on July 28th after nearly 28 years of service. Val shared, "I will so miss the people and the dynamics of this Firm. I have a deep respect for both the past and present partners and the challenges they have dealt with over the years while not compromising the quality of the product they deliver and the employees they manage."Val grew up in Pine Bluffs and was home from college in need of a summer job in 1978. She came knocking at our door, literally – she was too shy to just walk through the door! Val was hired on the spot and performed the usual college student summer job tasks, but showed particular talent for report and large document production and data management, all of which was done on something called a typewriter.Val fell in love with the job and, by summer's end, she abandoned her volleyball scholarship at Central Wyoming College and began her career with the Firm in earnest. It helped that there was a boy named Craig hanging out in the area, although she swears she stayed for the job, not the boy!After marrying the boy in 1981, they set off for newlywed adventures, mining gold in Jackson, moving to the coast just for fun, back to college in Laramie, then off to start Craig's career in Evanston and Las Vegas. While in Las Vegas, Val worked as a food demonstrator at Costco to make a little extra money.  Their little girl, about three years old at the time, watched her at work and said, "Mommy, I want to demonstrate food when I grow up!" Val inspires others no matter what she does!Their greatest adventure, parenthood, brought them home to raise their kids as they were raised. Val inquired if the Firm was hiring former volleyball phenoms. It just so happened that is exactly who Pat McGuire (retired Partner) was looking for, and Val returned to her work family in 1991. As the kids started school, Val left the Firm briefly so she could be more readily available to them. A few months later, Jim Hearne (retired Partner) called Val "just to see how she was doing." Another few months later, Jim called Val "just to see how she was doing." Another few months later, Jim called…some might call this loving concern; others might call it stalking. Jim won.  Val returned and spent the next two decades as an integral part of the growth and success of MHP.Val remembered, "Oh my gosh, one of the funniest moments while here was when my great friend Betty Weissinger, who is retired now, announced her plans to go on vacation and Mike McGee (retired Partner) brought out the duct tape and proceeded to duct tape her to her chair and I had to help…what a hoot! We laughed 'til we cried."

Val defines retirement a bit differently than most.  When she announced her plans, everyone envisioned she and Craig sipping lemonade on her porch with her daughter, Chelsie and husband Jason, watching grandson Beau play in the yard, and traveling to Lawrence, Kansas to visit their son, Nic, wife Leah, and the new grandbaby arriving in August. Val assured us that is in the stars, but she is also going to be working with Craig in their business, High Country HealthWatch, LLC, which is growing exponentially and is in need of her expertise. Now she will have grandchildren watching her at work and saying, "Grammy, I want to be an entrepreneur when I grow up!"

Brandy Marrou, Partner, reflected, "There are few employees I have worked with during my time at MHP who have the dedication to their employer that Val does for this Firm – it is truly admirable. She understands that the quality of her work is a direct reflection on the Firm and those she is working for. She approaches her job responsibilities with the desire to make those she is representing look their best, often with little ability to receive the credit for which she is due.  She is a critical aspect of our Firm's quality control process, which is one of the characteristics that differentiates our Firm from our competitors.  She also believes she has a role to play in helping to further the development of everyone with whom she works.  We will miss Val and can never truly express our gratitude for everything she has given to this Firm over the years."

Russ Hay, Partner, added, "Val always has the ability to make you feel you are the most important person at hand. Her professionalism and her outstanding abilities will be sorely missed." Wayne Herr, Partner, concurred and said, "During the past 22 years that I have worked with Val, she has been a valuable team member who has ensured that work product provided to our clients was of the highest quality and delivered timely even at personal inconvenience for her."

Laura Bump, Audit Manager, summed up how we all feel, "If you ever had the pleasure of meeting Valerie Sue, you know just how tough it will be for us to say goodbye this week. There is no question that Val is great at her job, but it is her kindness and thoughtfulness that we will miss the most. Val holds a very special place in our hearts and we can only hope she will drop by the office every now and again so we can see her smiling face and get a hug or two."

Godspeed, dear friend, and stay close to the phone.  Don't be surprised if you start getting calls from the office "just to see how you are doing."