(WSVN) - At a time of record resignations, one South Florida man has no desire to leave his job. He has been at the same company for more than six decades and has no plan to retire anytime soon. 7’s Kevin Ozebek has tonight’s special report, “Will to Work.”
Every weekday morning at 7:30 sharp, this is where you will find 95-year-old Gordon Smith.
Gordon Smith: “That’s the first thing I do.”
Task number one is always opening the gates at Farrey’s Lighting & Bath in North Miami. It is the superstore for fancy light fixtures and high-end plumbing.
Gordon has worked at the company for 63 years.
Kevin Ozebek: “Do you still look forward to coming in every day?”
Gordon Smith: “I love it. I love it.”
And his bosses love him back.
Kevin Ozebek: “Can you imagine Farrey’s without him?”
Bud Farrey, CEO, Farrey’s Lighting & Bath: “It would be a big hole in my life. There would be a big hole at Farrey’s.”
Gordon’s work ethic formed when he was just 17 years old.
Gordon Smith: “All of a sudden we got the word that Pearl Harbor was bombed.”
After Japan attacked, Gordon and his twin brother were drafted into the Navy.
Gordan Smith: “So we’d see land every eight months.”
Aboard the USS Bennington, Gordon was a gunner. His targets were Japanese planes.
Kevin Ozebek: “So you saw combat, then”
Gordon Smith: “Sure did.”
Shortly after the Allied victory, Gordon left his hometown near Boston and moved to South Florida.
He started at Farrey’s as a carpenter’s apprentice, but has since worked nearly every job here.
Bud Farrey: “He is one of the most valuable people. Number one, he’s a vet, and thank God for his service. Number two, he did anything that he was ever asked to do. Always willing, always energetic.”
Today, Gordon also makes sure the delivery trucks are in tip-top shape.
He also organizes all the purchase order forms back in his office.
Kevin Ozebek: “So, Gordon, would this place be able to run without you? Honest answer.”
Gordon Smith: “I would say yes, of course it would.”
But Farrey’s warehouse manager Harvey Carmona, who Gordon once mentored, disagrees.
Harvey Carmona: “He kept on giving me more and more, and teaching me more and more. Even though he’s a tough, tough, tough guy, he has a big heart.”
Gordon says he has only had one bad year since being on the payroll, and that was the year Farrey’s forced him to stay home because of the pandemic.
Gordon Smith: “I just can’t do nothing. I have to be active.”
In 2020, his daughters Sandra and Bonnie bore the brunt of his frustration.
Kevin Ozebek: “Did he drive you crazy during the pandemic when he wasn’t working?
Bonnie: “That’s part of my problem. Do you see all these gray hairs?”
Gordon’s goal is to make it to the 65 year mark at Farrey’s. That is just two years away.
But after that, will he retire?
Gordon Smith: “I may not. Who knows?”
This member of the Greatest Generation truly shows great loyalty to his employer.
Gordon Smith (choking up): “It’s an honor – excuse me. It’s my life, and it’s their life, and my life is at Farrey’s.”
That loyalty goes both ways. The big brass at Farrey’s say, as long as Gordon wants to work here, he’ll have a job.
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