(SIOUX CITY, IA) Two Bishop Heelan teachers are celebrating a milestone. Combined, their teaching experience spans a lifetime - 90 years.
Retirement is on the horizon for both of them. While one is leaving the other staying but they both share one big thing in common, their passion for education.
In 1969 Brendan Burchard and Bill Thayer were on completely different paths in life. Thayer, a former teacher in Minnesota and Burchard, a Vietnam Veteran.
Two people who likely would have never met if circumstances were different but both men chose a job at Bishop Heelan Catholic School.
45 years later...
"I'm still here, they can't get rid of me," said Burchard.
"You have to love it to stay this long," said Thayer.
A good work ethic never hurts either. Burchard says he's only taken 5 sick days over the last 4 and a half decades.
"I can't remember the last one," he said.
How's that for hard work? But the secret doesn't lie in good nutrition or getting a yearly flu shot, it's intertwined with happiness and making your time worthwhile.
"You have to find something that you like to do at a place that you like to be and if you can find that I think that you'll find that your working time is enjoyable," said Thayer.
Take it from these men who are pretty much experts at this point. So what's behind so much happiness for these guys? The students. Burchard's classroom walls are covered in senior pictures years in the making.
"It takes up most of my wall space. And so sometimes kids are looking for the picture of their parent or their aunt or somebody and if they don't find it, then I say well they must not have loved me because they didn't give me a picture," he said.
The only distinct difference between these two men - one is leaving...
"I don't know what I'm going to do, maybe start a new career," said Thayer.
The other is staying.
"I said a long time ago, I'm going to keep doing this until I figure it out. And boy I have not figured it out yet. I'll know when, I think I'll know when.When I start drooling or they've got me in an electric wheelchair or something but I still feel like there's something I haven't done yet," said Burchard.
Burchard says to check back with him in another 10 years.
21 teachers and staff members were recognized today at the annual Appreciation Luncheon for Catholic Schools Week at Bishop Heelan High School.