Marc Gaerte doesn’t like to be the center of attention. Even this story, in honor of his retirement, makes him a bit uneasy.
But once he begins talking about his 25 years at Noble REMC, he relaxes a bit, remembering the moments that meant the most to him — like the first time he witnessed and felt the true impact of his work.
He was up and working well before the sun, helping to turn electricity back on near Green Center during an outage. He vividly recalls watching as each security light along the road came back on.
Now-retired Noble REMC Journeyman Lineman Dave Dunn yelled out his window, “You just became everybody’s hero.”
“I got the biggest grin on my face,” said Gaerte with that same smile on his face.
His journey to Noble REMC didn’t happen quickly.
An Albion native, he knew the reputation and nature of the work at the cooperative — he knew he wanted a career that allowed him to be outside, without the confines of an office. As he describes it, “I tried so many times to get in,” before he took a break from applying.
Luckily, he would soon get his break with a position on the right-of-way crew. Two and a half years later, he was working toward becoming a journeyman lineman. He earned his journeyman lineman status through Indiana Electric Cooperatives’ Rural Electric Apprenticeship Program.
Gaerte enjoyed the challenge of what Mother Nature might bring and the change from hour to hour and day to day. He said even a project like a rebuild sometimes became too monotonous for him, having to perform the same action over and over.
He’s going to ensure he has that same flexibility and spontaneity in retirement, while also taking some time to slow down and travel, fish with his two grandsons and take care of his beehives and garden.
But he said he will feel a void in his life for a little while, not having this job to come to, or, more importantly, seeing his fellow employees he now considers friends.
“It goes fast. Time went so fast,” Gaerte said. “Good luck and work hard.”