Saying Goodbye to George Brooks
28 Years of Service
George Brooks Retirement
Congratulations to George Brooks on his retirement! George has been working with Mercer for 28 years, starting back in 1994. He spent his first 24 years at Mercer in the warehouse. For the past four years, he has worked in the security department, helping to protect the property of contractors and the company. George Brooks is a perfect example of how some members of the Mercer team go above and beyond, whether by keeping things organized or supporting each other in difficult times.
The Long Way Around
George’s career started, not with the trucking industry, but with a chili restaurant in his original hometown of Covington, KY. He worked there for about 15 years before falling on hard times and spending more than a year in a halfway house in Louisville. George tried to leverage his restaurant experience for a career in the culinary arts, but that path didn’t work out. Instead, George met Dale Corum during a spiritual weekend called an Emmaus Walk. George had been praying for guidance when Dale told him about a job opening at Mercer. George quickly got excited about his prayers being answered, and Dale cautioned him that the job wasn’t guaranteed. George replied with confidence, saying, “You don’t have to guarantee me anything, [the job is] already mine!”
Everything in its Place
To get started at Mercer, Len Dunman gave George a cluttered closet to clean and sort. George still remembers, “I took everything out of that closet, lined it down the hallway and cleaned it, then put everything back . . . I pride myself on my organization skills. From there, that’s when they gave me the warehouse position.” If you’re a driver who signed on with Mercer between 1994 and 2018, then you probably met George when collecting equipment at the warehouse. George said, “I moved a warehouse about five times since I’ve been here. . . taking everything from one warehouse out, then setting back up in an organized fashion in the new warehouse. So, I had to reorganize several times to get everything back in shape.” Even after a few years in security, George still knows how to find nearly anything in the warehouse.
Support During Hard Times
Unfortunately, it hasn’t all been smooth sailing. George got married in 2000 and his wife Gail had terminal cancer, dying just a year later. Someone at Mercer anonymously reimbursed the medication costs during Gail’s chemotherapy and radiation, eventually providing a plot for her to be buried. George said, “To this day have no idea who it was. But I just can’t say how appreciative I was and still am, and can’t say enough about how this company really is to people.”
A few years after Gail’s death, George ended up getting married to her friend Blanche. They met while doing prison ministry together. Blanche now also works at Mercer and has been there for almost 15 years, increasingly working from home as a Document Recovery Specialist. George explains, “For example, if something like pay for work doesn’t look right for a driver, she’ll call around to make it right. She works with drivers, shippers, and other internal Mercer departments.”
Through the prison ministry where George met Blanche, called REC or Residents Encounter Christ, George also met other members of the Mercer team. Melvin Schultz helped George make his transition from the halfway house into an apartment, “he bought me my first set of dishes, cookware, etc.… to set up the kitchen.” George eventually became a team leader on a REC with both Melvin and Dale as part of his team. “So that was really humbling and a spiritual lifting up for me,” George said.
Looking Forward to Retirement
George and Blanche just bought a house in Somerset, KY to be closer to their kids. Dawn, George’s oldest, is a traveling nurse. His other daughters are Norma, Kathy, and Ruthie, plus a son named George. Blanche has a daughter named Tammy. The whole crew includes a total of nine grandkids and six great grandchildren, with two more on the way, so it makes sense to move closer to all their family, especially since Blanche is able to work remotely.
The new home in Somerset has a two-car garage where George plans to start getting into woodworking. “It’s something I’ve always been interested in. I’ve got all the tools, just never had the time to mess with it.”
Reflecting on the Mercer Experience
“Mercer has been a very family-oriented company and I am proud to be part of this family,” George said. Mercer as a business depends on everyone succeeding together, but the personal connections also provide real support. George said, “It just really has been an awesome experience working here. When I worked in the warehouse, I met every driver that signed on at Mercer when he came in, because I had to give them their equipment and stuff. I made a lot of friends.” Thank you, George, for so many years of hard work! You have been a valued part of the Mercer team, and we look forward to seeing updates on your woodwork projects in retirement!