Letter from Leadership
Tuesday, March 13, 2018
Posted by: Tim Trotter, executive director
This is perhaps one of the most difficult times for Edge, our members and the dairy community. The tragic and unexpected loss of our Board President, John Pagel, his son-in-law Steven Witcpalek and pilot Nathan Saari is truly heartbreaking. As we mourn the loss of John and the two other men, we pray for healing. We pray for strength. We pray for his memories, vision and love to guide all of us forward.
Although I only knew John for a relatively short time, I had the privilege to work very closely with him. During that time, I could see his unmatchable personal traits – his personality was infectious. His compassion for others was never-ending. His vision for the future was timeless. And most importantly, he led with his heart. In today’s world, it’s hard to find a leader with the total package. John is a legend and we were lucky to have him at the helm, guiding us forward.
Despite John being a founder of the cooperative, thus having a personal connection to DBMMC’s name and logo, he could see the need to change our identity to better communicate our advocacy on federal policy. He was so proud of our new name, Edge, and loved our tag line, “the voice of milk.” He knew that the dairy community was ready for a change and that Edge was the best suited to rise to the challenge.
John was a believer that a successful organization is larger than any one person. Now we will move forward with his spiritual guidance as he would expect us to. We will continue to advance our powerful and growing co-op.
I have to end this with an example of John’s humor. When I would call John on the phone, I would start by saying, “Where’s Waldo?” because he was always on the move. He may make me guess or give me clues on his whereabouts. Frequently, I would get random text pictures from him asking, “Where am I?”
Now I can say with utmost certainty, he is watching over us.