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GARY

Dunkirk, New York

Tuesday, September 7, 2004

At first, Gary was a mentor of sorts to me, afterwhich, friendship quickly followed. With the advent of my new job at National Fuel Gas in Downtown Buffalo, NY, Gary was assigned and instructed to show me the ropes. I tell ya, I couldn't have asked for a better, more helpful, guiding hand. Both working within the CIS group of NFG's IT Department, we poured over volumes and volumes of programming code. He patiently instructed me on the intricacies of the computer systems, and with his invaluable assistance, I eventually became an effective, contributing member of the team.

Computer analysts who are very good at programming as well as system analysis are very, very hard to come by. Gary nails both skillsets, NFG is lucky to have him. Apparently the feeling is mutual, for Gary has worked there for more than 15 years now. Another superior skill is Gary's innate and exceptional ability at troubleshooting problems, which he exercised to its fullest for a little while. At one time his full-time job was to ensure the smooth processing of the company's nightly billing and collections cycles. A task fraught with high pressure and great peril. If anything went haywire (which was not uncommon) in the wee morning hours of processing, he would jump in with both feet, with the urgent directive to find and fix the problem. I really admire him for this aptitude.

Most of my contact with Gary (5 years worth) was at work. Reason being, he lived (and still does) so darn far away from work. Driving long distances and getting sleepy at the wheel must not be an issue for Gary. For as long as I've known him he's lived in Dunkirk, NY with his long-time girlfriend Terry. Dunkirk is located a ways away from Buffalo, NY and requires a bit of driving. So, it's safe to say there's lots of driving in Gary's life. Perhaps if he ever grows tired of computers, he may very well have a future as a long-haul truck driver!

Gary is one of those quiet but confident guys, always warm and friendly, humorous, thoughtful, considerate, an all around fun to be around kinda guy. Ya know, he did the nicest thing for me, something that I'll never forget. After giving out my new Portland address to all my friends (including Gary of course), I crammed all my stuff into the moving van and headed cross-country to my new home in the Northwest. After 6 days of driving I finally arrived in one piece. Pulling up to my new digs, I jumped out of the moving van and checked the mailbox on a whim, certainly, there couldn't possibly be any mail for me just yet. Well, to my great surprise, there was a single letter addressed to me! It was a greeting card from Gary, wishing me well in my new surroundings. I was really touched! Thank you again for doing that Gary, it really meant a lot to me.

I miss times spent with Gary. I hope to stay in touch with him in the future.


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