Brian said some things to a few co-workers and gathered one box of personal belongings. Belongings that will probably sit in a box untouched for an indefinite amount of time. It was hard to decide what to say to each co-worker. Some of these co-workers are long time friends. Friends that are agonizing while witnessing their friend become more ill.
Brian and his Dad, who worked for Cat for over 35 years.
I would be remiss not to mention at this point in time what an amazing employer Brian has had the privilege of serving. Caterpillar has treated Brian with the utmost dignity and respect. While dignity and respect are well-deserved by Brian, many employers would have shut the door on Brian at the first signs of his illness. Eleven and a half years ago, when Brian was first diagnosed, Brian had JUST been transferred to Denver with Caterpillar. I wrote of it here. In those three years, our medical benefits were outstanding. We had to wrestle with claims a few times, but in the end, everything was always covered. All surgeries, all second opinions, all treatments, everything. Caterpillar is self-insured. Throughout the years, as medical costs sky-rocket (thank you malpractice suits), Cat has had to cut back on benefit coverage - raising premiums, adding deductibles, increasing co-pays and out of pocket expenses. Each time, it has been in essence a pay cut for us due to Brian's serious illness. However, each time, the benefits are still better than probably 75% of Americans. We know we are blessed in that regard.
After 4 years of remission, Cat took a chance on Brian in 2005 when they offered him a promotion and a new job in Canada. We snatched up the offer and felt very confident that we were on our way to the next phase of life with cancer safely behind us. While that was not to be the case, I do believe anyone that worked with Brian the 2 years he was in Edmonton, Canada, would say he was a true asset to the organization and it was entirely worth the time and effort to have him there. He loved his job, loved the people, loved his products, and loved his company.
When Brian needed surgery in April 2007 and we were living in Canada, Cat was beyond accommodating assisting with an expedient move back to the States, transportation to and from the hospital in Brian's fragile condition, etc. Since then, they have always found a place for Brian in the organization. They have always tried to best utilize his skill set within his limitations while ensuring he stayed sharp and challenged without undue stress.
In short, they have been amazing.
And now, as we are unsure about the future and unsure about the timing of what may come next, they are kicking into high gear to do the leg work for me. They are once again, going above and beyond to make this as easy on us as possible.
Say what you will about big yellow, in my book, Caterpillar is one hell of a top notch company. I am honored to have worked there for a few years and I know Brian is proud to display the Caterpillar name across half his wardrobe.
Caterpillar is just one of the many blessings we have been counting lately. Today, as Brian packed his box, I felt compelled to acknowledge that.