“Cornerstone.” “First Class Guy.” “Integrity.”
As I sat and listened to speech after speech, my emotions got the best of me. That was my brother Luis they were talking about. And all those words the speakers used to describe him at his retirement ceremony were absolutely true.
I didn’t always think so. Growing up, Luis—Louie—was somewhat of a thorn-in-the-side.
When I was in third grade, I had this huge crush on Davey Jones of the Monkees. One day, Louie called me to the phone. He told me it was Davey Jones. I didn’t believe him. But he insisted. So, I nervously took the phone and said, “Hello?” Sure enough, the guy on the other line said he was “Davey Jones.” I was beyond excited. Later, I found out that “Davey” was actually Louie’s classmate. Yes. My dear brother had orchestrated this little prank. I didn’t want to go to school the next day because “Davey Jones’” brother was in my class.
Perhaps he outgrew it. Or perhaps his true nature was trying to burst through this stereotypical “big brother” persona. But Louie became, well, a great guy.
When I was in elementary school, he trained me for a race and came on field day to cheer me on when my legs were too tired to continue. At my high school graduation, he took pictures of me with the cutest guys in my class, including the boy I had a crush on since fifth grade, so that I would have memories of being popular, at least for one day. When I started medical school, he and Sally bought me a doctor’s bag and medical equipment—I’m still using the ophthalmoscope.
And Louie helped set the foundation for my writing career. He coached me on grammar while I was in grade school. More recently he edited my devotion that was awarded third place at a Christian writers’ conference I attended.
The list on how Louie has made a positive impact on my life is long. And as I listened to tribute after tribute, it was apparent that he had also enriched the lives of all these people with whom he worked side by side throughout the years.
Supervisors spoke of Louie’s dedication and professionalism. Person after person thanked him for his advice and encouragement—for both their professional and personal lives. They spoke of how he balanced work and family but that family was of the utmost importance to him. His younger co-workers thanked him for his mentorship. Of course, there were stories of his pranks. (I guess he will always be a prankster at heart.)
In his 41.6 years working for the City of Virginia Beach, as a budget analyst in the Department of Budget and Management Services, Louie received many awards and recognitions—of which I found out only now. And while he worked many long hours and had many almost sleepless nights to meet budget deadlines, he never once was asked to work on Yahweh’s Sabbath. Louie was dedicated to his work but always put Yahweh first. His supervisors honored him for that.
And Yahweh has blessed him.
As Louie said in his farewell speech, he started working for the City as a bachelor and retires as a grandfather. During the 41.6 years, Yahweh blessed him with the perfect partner in marriage, Sally. Her love and support allowed Louie to dedicate the time needed at work but also to lead the Assembly of Yah as our pastor. Yahweh blessed him with their son and daughter, Jeremy and Jayna, and with another “son” and “daughter”—Stephen and Cora—through marriage. He blessed Louie and Sally with grandchildren, Jonah and Indiana, and another grandchild on the way.
“Blessed are those who keep His statutes and seek him with all their heart” (Psalm 119:2, NIV).
“Blessed are all who fear Yahweh, who walk in obedience to him” (Psalm 128:1, NIV).
The Cambridge English Dictionary defines “cornerstone” as “something of great importance on which everything else depends.” Louie is not the first member of the Budget Department, but he has definitely proven himself to be of “great importance” and on whom his fellow staff members could depend.
In the words of the Proclamation set forth by Louis R. Jones, Mayor of the City of Virginia Beach, Virginia: “Luis will be remembered for his dedication to serving the employees and citizens of the City of Virginia Beach.” It stated that he “has met deadlines with professionalism and courtesy, always displaying a cheerful and ‘can-do’ attitude, earning him the ‘Class Act Award.’” Mayor Jones went on to proclaim September 27, 2018 as “Luis C. Asercion Day.”
“First Class Guy”—Yes. “Integrity”—Most certainly. “Cornerstone”—Absolutely.
The City of Virginia Beach has lost a “Class Act” public servant. For 41.6 years Luis C. Asercion has served our city well—tirelessly and with integrity. Our city is better because of him. And because of those he has mentored, our city will continue to grow successfully. As a citizen of Virginia Beach, I thank him for his service.
As his sister, I thank him for his encouragement, mentorship and support throughout my life. And, I am even appreciative for his antics during our growing up years. Those days make for fun memories to share with our kids.
I hope Louie’s retirement won’t be the end to his emails. Throughout the years he has sent jokes and funny stories. More recently he wrote about the antics of Indie and her brother Jonah. But I treasure his letters of encouragement and support for whatever event or experience I was going through. Now that he has other obligations in his retirement, those emails may not be as free-flowing. (As the frame from Miriam states, Louie is under new management—the grandkids.) I’m pretty sure we’ll still get emails, but I’m being a bit sentimental because firstname.lastname@example.org is now offline.
A few days before Louie’s retirement ceremony, I visited Mom and Dad’s earthly resting place. I wondered what they might think about how our lives were turning out. I recounted out loud how Ruthie had retired and is now taking care of her grandson. And that Louie would soon be retiring and taking on a bigger role as a grandfather. I “told” them that they would be very proud of the two – that Ruthie and Louie were continuing their legacy of bringing up the next generation in the ways of Yahweh. Before I left, I looked back through the gate at Mom and Dad’s smiling faces. Yes. They would be proud.
As Louie ends one chapter and begins the next chapter in his life, there is no doubt that his tireless and generous service will continue.
And we’ll all be the better for it.