America's Outstanding Oldest Worker - 2012
Wade was born in Winfield, Kan., on July 25, 1912, and has lived
there his entire life. He graduated from
Winfield High School in 1930. His first job was at 12 when he pulled weeds at a
tree nursery, and he has worked consistently ever since.
During his 88 years in the workforce, Wade had many jobs that
have helped keep Winfield going. After graduation he made iron and aluminum
castings. Then he got a job at the Ford Garage, where he earned $12 for a
60-hour workweek until the Depression hit. Then “if you could get a job, you
grabbed it,” so he drove a truck and ushered at the Nile Theater in town.
Before World War II and after he returned from 43 months in the Air Force where
he served in India and China, he worked for Railway Express. He also had his
own business laying carpet, sanding floors, and installing ceramic tile and a
couple of jobs with the U.S. Postal Service. In 1983 he left his mail carrier
job but was not yet ready to retire. That is when he found employment at the
Winfield Walmart – where he has been ever since.
Over the years Wade has done a bit of everything at the store.
He had the privilege of meeting Sam Walton twice when he stopped by the
Winfield Walmart for a visit. Wade heard Walton say to a manager, “Why don’t we
have more guys like this working here?”
Today, Wade works 30 hours, five days a week. He estimates he
walks two or three miles a day doing his job, which includes restocking,
changing merchandise displays, working the cash registers, and serving
customers. He is currently assigned to the pet supplies department. Not only is
he knowledgeable about the merchandise, he is a patient, pleasant, and
conscientious employee. Customers and fellow employees often say, “If you need
something, ask Loren; he will know where to find it.”
Wade is a role model in his
community and to other older workers because of his diligent work ethic and
unstoppable desire to continue to do the best possible job at whatever he is
doing. To him, age does not matter. Wade’s advice to people in the workforce
today: “Do a good day’s work for your pay.”
When not working, enjoying home life with his wife, or
tending his garden, Wade goes to rehearsals and performances with the Winfield
City Band; he’s played the saxophone for the past 79 years! Music (and work) make him happy, but so does candy,
especialy chocolate and various gummy things.