A few years ago, AgeBetter Executive Director Ann Albert met Rick Conroy at a UW-Madison football game tailgate party. When she asked what he was doing with his retirement, Rick said he was doing some handyman work. Rick had construction experience in his “younger years” before spending over 30 years in education, eventually becoming a high school principal. “I had an opportunity to teach in post-secondary education,” Rick said in a recent phone call, “but my canvas was full on the educational side.” Remembering the tricks of the trade, and having learned from his handy father and grandfather, Rick figured handyman work would be a good way to find fulfillment in retirement.
Ann immediately said, “You should become a SAIL vendor!”
One of SAIL’s most popular benefits is the vetted vendor list, which consists of local businesses proven to be reliable and excellent. Rick went through the process of being vetted and eventually began meeting SAIL members to provide handyman services at their homes. But what Rick didn’t expect was just how many wonderful people he would meet.
One good friend Rick has made through SAIL is Bob Morrison, a SAIL member and retired handbell salesman turned handbell refurbisher. Bob had his own handbell refurbishing shop in Madison for almost 20 years. “I became an expert and gained many handbell customers from the surrounding states, as far away as Kentucky, Michigan, Iowa,” Bob says. “I remember I used to have our basement full of handbell cases every spring, summer and into the fall seasons.”
At 88, Bob sometimes needs help around the house. That’s where Rick came in and the two forged a bond. “Bob has many great stories,” says Rick. “He’s got a great sense of humor.”
“Rick is very good at fixing up things,” Bob states, describing that Rick was coming over to help put together an exercise machine for Bob’s wife Joyce. The two also share a passion for electric trains.
Earlier this basketball season, Rick had access to an extra ticket to a Badger game and asked Bob if he wanted to go. Bob, an avid Badger basketball fan, eagerly accepted. The two had a great time sitting courtside and enjoyed a wonderful time together at the game. Bob even got to take a picture with Bucky!
“I love spending time with this age of the population,” Rick says with deep sincerity. “It doesn’t feel like work. I spend as much time visiting with clients as I do working for them.”
“We’ve become very good friends,” Bob says. “He can do anything. I can do a lot of things as well. We work well together.”
When you’re part of SAIL, you can count on meeting fascinating people and forging new friendships, sometimes in the most unexpected of places! Thanks Rick and Bob for sharing your story with us!
Do you have a great story about a friendship you made at SAIL? A neat story about what you’re doing with retirement? Something else that might be of interest and shows how you’re living your best life? E-mail firstname.lastname@example.org or call the SAIL office at 608-230-4321. We would love to feature you on the blog!
SAIL is a program of AgeBetter, Inc., a local nonprofit organization whose members are Attic Angel Association and Oakwood Village.