RMCNews – Littleton, Colorado … On a cold, snowy morning, a small gathering assembled, with others joining virtually, to say farewell to RMC education director Lonnie Hetterle.

Hetterle, who leaves his position on December 31 after spending more than 25 years in RMC education, was at first not keen on having a farewell celebration, but later accepted that many individuals wanted to acknowledge his hard work over the years.

Making the planning of the party difficult was the fact that the party was for Hetterle. As Pat Chapman, education assistant, commented, “Lonnie and I usually do these [retirement celebrations] together. I do all the prep work and he is this great, funny host.”

The program included well wishes via video from many who couldn’t be in attendance due to the ongoing pandemic.

Addressing the gathering from Poland, Rajmund Dabrowski, RMC communication director, advised Hetterle to combine his retirement and education skills by spending time with and teaching his grandchildren.

During the presentations, Hetterle’s children approached the front where he sat, or joined via video, to encourage their father and to provide gifts of items he could use during his newly-found availability of time. One gift included rubber gloves, baby wipes, and a package of diapers to use while Hetterle takes care of his youngest granddaughter.  Hetterle wasn’t impressed with the gift as one of his most disliked duties is changing diapers.

Gifts from various schools lead to laughter from all when Don Reeder presented Hetterle with a Campion Academy letter jacket and Hetterle responded, “Should I wear this to Mile High school board meeting?”

Taking time to add their appreciation for the many years of service were members of RMC administration with Eric Nelson welcoming the viewers, George Crumley providing a financial retirement gift, and Ed Barnett closing the program by providing Hetterle with a list of items to keep people amused during retirement.

Commenting on the event, Crumley, VP of finance said, “It is hard to say good-by to Lonnie Hetterle who has served in his role as Educational Superintendent for more than 20 years. He has brought energy, innovation, and service to his position and is loved by many. I was able to participate in a beautifully prepared farewell for Lonnie at the Littleton Church, where schools provided videos of affirmation, family shared amusing stories about Lonnie, and the rest had the opportunity to express our deep appreciation for his years of service. Lonnie will be greatly missed, but the good news is that he is staying in our conference and I know that he will still be involved in serving, for that is who he is.”

Commenting online, Kiefer Dooley, RMC youth director wrote, “Lonnie! I’m sending well wishes on behalf of the whole Youth Department for a retirement full of purpose as you connect deeper with family, friends, and community. Thank you for all of the hard work you’ve poured into ensuring our RMC schools provide professional, academic, and Jesus-centered education. And, for always being a support to our departments projects and initiatives.”

Reflecting on the event, Hetterle said, “In this world we strive to make a difference and to have a purpose in our lives.  Sometimes it is less obvious that we are having an impact on those in our sphere of influence, but the positive affirmation [I received] was so very gratifying and touched my heart. The tears were always just below the surface and I am glad I was able to turn away a few times.”

Hetterle went on to thank the many who made the event possible. “I cannot begin to thank Pat Chapman enough for organizing and being the M.C. and providing the meal afterwards. I must also mention Littleton Church for graciously opening their doors and Jon Roberts for working his digital mastery to help this all come together. The entire team at RMC is phenomenal and kudos to my much beloved fellow workers in the Education Department.  Everyone in my CHERISHED team is exemplary in every way.”

“Remain faithful” are Hetterle’s final words to RMC teachers, pastors, and members. “The kindness shown by several of the schools, teachers and pastors has been touching and please know that you on the front line of this Great Controversy will always remain in my heart and prayers. As we remain faithful in these closing days of this earth’s history, I know that His strength and guidance will be there as each one of us prepares our hearts and our ministry to others to soon celebrate together in that earth made new.”

–RMCNews; photos by Ed Barnett