Today is January 6th.  My coworkers at Willmar Electric know that today is Elmo Chapin Day.  Every year we celebrate our Grandfather’s Birthday by explaining to those who didn’t get the chance to meet him what he stood for in life.  This year is extra special because he would have been 100 years old today.

Elmo Chapin lived all our core values at Willmar Electric.  He was thrifty; he believed in the Merit Shop philosophy and in meeting our customer’s needs.  But most of all, he believed in treating others the way they wanted to be treated.  He had great respect for everybody.  He wants to create an environment that allowed everybody to get and give the most out of their God-given talents and abilities.

Going point by point through our core values, here is a picture of Elmo Chapin.

  • They are treating others the way they want to be treated. He would listen to people. Webster’s dictionary defines listening as trying to understand where the other person is coming from.  He had a great concern for his fellow man.
  • Merit Shop. He thought construction should be done in an open market where every qualified contractor competed on a level playing field.  Making sure everybody is treated fairly and given an even chance to succeed.
  • Elmo Chapin was recycling before it was cool.  Both sides of all paper got used by Elmo Chapin.  The lights were turned off in all empty rooms.
  • You are meeting the customer’s needs. The examples for this value are numerous, but I will stick to the simplest one.  He always preached that you left a place better than you found it.  Even if that meant you cleaned up something that was part of somebody else’s mess.

So again, I invite you to celebrate Elmo Chapin Day by joining me and be like Elmo.  And if you have a red sports coat, I suggest you wear it.  I am wearing mine.

Additional ways to celebrate Elmo Chapin include.

  • Give people a second (or third or fourth) chance.
  • Laugh.
  • Help others. Even if they are strangers.
  • Take time to invest in others.
  • Don’t always be in a rush to get to the next thing.
  • Take a nap.
  • Use things up before you throw them away.
  • Understand there might be more than one use for something.
  • Try something new.