To finish up the year, this post is dedicated to Peter Varney on the occasion of his third retirement. He says he hopes to get retirement ‘right’ this time, which leaves the rest of us protesting, “Say it isn’t so.”
The recent tributes to Senator Dole remind us that a life of service to the country is an honorable thing that can make a lasting contribution. The question of what will be remembered of each of us is raised when we hear someone extolled for their leadership and accomplishments. Peter Varney is known as a man of excellence and has made a lasting contribution.
It seems that everyone in Rocky Mount, NC knows ‘Mr. Peter.’ I’ve not forgotten standing at the train station when I asked an older black woman Peter stopped to speak to. “Tell me about Mr. Varney.” She came right back with, “Oh, he’s a good man.” Knowing Peter’s modest ways, I expect this declaration meant as much to him as anything else that could be said. A good man!
This time around, Peter was ‘doing housing’ which he knows in and out and adds innovative ways to form partnerships and get results. His reputation leads to other phone calls for his help about a citywide list of things that need doing. Peter has several admonitions. I consider his quotes not only indicative of who he is, but words to the wise if they follow his advice.
Peter is a listener. He is an encourager. He is the moral compass that Rocky Mount responds too. We rest easier knowing he is working on our behalf. After carefully listening, Peter’s leadership style is to explain how to proceed. I have no doubt that his shadow will always be found on Main Street and in the surrounding neighborhoods. Once again we say, “THANK YOU” and pray for he and his family in the days to come.