Tuesday, July 3, 2012

Living a LIfe that Matters-A Tribute to Tom Cramer

As we celebrate the birth of America and all that makes Milton, WI within it so great, we at City Hall pause for a moment to remember a dear friend who died way too young last week.  Tom Cramer, Plant Manager of Penn Color died at the age of 57 after a brief but courageous battle with Cancer.  While I had only known Tom for about 3 years, I found him to be an engaging, sincere man who truly cared about our community.  Tom was both salesman and scientist. He was both family minded and community minded.  He cared about Milton and worked with us to make us even better.  He wanted it well know that he was proud to be here, and proud to help the City in all of its projects, and spoke to prospective businesses who were looking at expansion of our industrial park.  He took our Mayor and Council on a tour of the plant.  He was a perfectionist in his work who earned the respect of those who worked with him and for him, and the admiration of City officials to see someone work so hard and help put our City on the map by opening Penn Color's 8th plant in the world right here in Milton. 
Like so many of our businesses, Tom and Penn Color were committed, civic minded and dedicated to the City's many endeavors.  Be it the 4th of July, school district projects or the Splash Park, Tom was a visionary who saw not what was, but what could be.  He believed in his well thought out vision, and worked hard to make them a reality.  Mayor Chesmore and I had the opportunity to express our sympathy to Tom's family today and the family handed out the poem below, which arguably best describes his life's legacy.  Upon behalf of our grateful community Tom, thanks for all your work here and for living a life that matters...

Live a life that matters
Ready or not, someday it will all come to an end.
There will be no more sunrises, no minutes, hours or days.
All the things you collected, whether treasured or forgotten, will pass to someone else.
Your wealth, fame and temporal power will shrivel to irrelevance.
It will not matter what you owned or what you were owed.
Your grudges, resentments, frustrations, and jealousies will finally disappear.
So, too, your hopes, ambitions, plans, and to-do lists will expire.
The wins and losses that once seemed so important will fade away.
It won't matter where you came from, or on what side of the tracks you lived, at the end.
It won't matter whether you were beautiful or brilliant
Even your gender and skin colour will be irrelevant.
So what will matter?
How will the value of your days be measured?
What will matter is not what you bought, but what you built; not what you got, but what you gave.
What will matter is not your success, but your significance.
What will matter is not what you learned, but what you taught.
What will matter is every act of integrity, compassion, courage or sacrifice that enriched, empowered or encouraged others to emulate your example.
What will matter is not your competence, but your character.
What will matter is not how many people you knew, but how many will feel a lasting loss when you're gone.
What will matter is not your memories, but the memories that live in those who loved you.
What will matter is how long you will be remembered, by whom and for what.
Living a life that matters doesn't happen by accident.
It's not a matter of circumstance, but of choice.
Choose to live a life that matters.