Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Working: Farm to Prison to Foster Care

Newspaper article The Florida Times Union

Working: Farm to Prison to Foster Care

Article excerpt

Labor Day is a good time to celebrate the importance of work. "The pursuit of happiness" in America means that hard work is rewarded.

So for this Labor Day weekend, we asked some members of our Email Interactive Group to comment on the most satisfying experiences in their working lives. There was a variety of experiences.


I fell into the best job in the world. I was hoping to be a middle school teacher because I wanted to be a positive male role model but had trouble getting hired. I ended up being a special needs teacher.

There is no job as rewarding as being a teacher, and you can multiply that with special needs. Every little gain means the world to them and their families. I was always worried about being a teacher for the monetary reasons. However, you couldn't pay me the amount equal to how I feel about my students.

There is a great quote for teachers. "How much do you make?"

I make a difference.

Ben Black, Jacksonville


It was the summer of '58. We had just finished our junior year in high school. One of my best friends learned that farmers and ranchers in Western Kansas were hiring summer help and paying big money. We were going to Kansas for the summer!

Our parents drove us to the bus station the next morning, and we went to Dodge City, Kan.

We got in line at the state of Kansas employment office. A farmer/rancher with a huge place offered us the "going rate" and room and board. We took the offer and spent the next two months doing every conceivable job on a wheat farm/hog operation, plowing 40 acres a day, building hog pens, shoveling everything known to mankind from wheat to dirt.

The people we met, coupled with the breadth of experiences, made for the summer of a lifetime. When it was time to go home we made a fire and burned the few clothes that we had.

We made room, board and $7 a day. I have had many wonderful work experiences, but my memories of The Summer of '58 always make me smile.

Mike Keohane, Ponte Vedra Beach


I was involved cardiopulmonary medicine. When working in hospitals, we encountered patients who would go into cardiopulmonary arrest. I was on a team of allied heath professionals who had to respond and perform CPR. Most often it was on the elderly, but at times it could be the very young, especially in the ER.

Remarkably many of the patients survived, and I would see them leave the hospital days later. To me that was the greatest reward a person can have.

No other work can top the satisfaction of helping to save a human life.

Rick Tormos, Jacksonville


My job requires me to I be on the road every day. There is never a day that passes that I don't get a chance to help stranded motorists, such as having flat tires or running out of gas. …

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