Last night, all of our elders and their wives, and most of our staff gathered together for a special retirement celebration dinner in honor of Mel and Vicki Dietz. The place was Walnut Creek Country Club and the purpose was to “give honor to whom honor is due.” Mel and Vicki are completing 20 years of service for Christ here at Crossroads.
On a personal note, Mel and Vicki have been our friends for more than 30 years. Our kids grew up together in Florida. Vicki has been my assistant for 30+ years, both in Florida and for the past 20 years here in Texas. Mel served as a Building Committee Chairman, Deacon and Elder in our church in Florida, before moving here in 1995 with Vicki to be our Executive Pastor.
Last night, besides sharing a wonderful dinner with two desserts (sorry that’s an inside joke — and a very funny one, I might add) our elders and staff showered them with individual gifts and cards. To start off the evening, we gave Vicki a beautiful painting of a farm with an appropriate Scripture and Mel a gift card to Cabela’s. Then we gave them a plaque acknowledging and thanking them for their 20 years of service here. Four of our staff members spoke: Brian Carter, Pam Siddle, Steve Siddle and Brenda Ruzicka. Then, two of our elders spoke. All of them shared their appreciation and deep admiration.
In what was a very moving part of the evening, Josh, Mel and Vicki’s son, shared his perspective, representing their family. He spoke for several minutes of what it was like to have Mel and Vicki as parents. How their two greatest passions were hard work and love. Love for God, love for their family, and love for God’s family, the church. It was a moving tribute to both his parents and Crossroads for giving them the opportunity to do what they love here.
I called Mel and Vicki back up to the front and we presented them with a cruise. They get to choose between an Alaskan or Caribbean cruise, with a suite, airfare and everything else included. They get to choose the time and the cruise line.
Then, John Beauford, chairman of our elders came and, on behalf of our church family, shared a few words with Mel and Vicki regarding how much we love them and appreciate everything they’ve done for the past 20 years. He told them they would be receiving $1,000 each for every year of service and a month off, which is the month of May. Further, he told them the elders were giving them five weeks of vacation, since they haven’t taken any yet, and wouldn’t be able to after they retire. So, they have a few days to finalize things and get whatever needs to be wrapped up before enjoying some much-needed and much-deserved time off.
One of the highlights of the evening was when Steve Siddle shared the following poem he wrote:
Born the son of a Preacher man, in a place called Alpena, Michigan.
A deeply religious and hard-working young lad, when it came to hard work he gave all that he had.
With all that hard work soon he would get, a 1966 white Corvette.
I’m guessing way back when Mel was quite the ladies’ man.
A girl named Vicki who was dating his friend, saw Mel in his Vette and jumped right in.
The part you don’t know is when Vicki jumped in, she set down between Mel and his then girlfriend.
That’s the last we heard of old what’s-her-name. Mel and Vicki would soon marry then Josh and Erica came.
With a family of four and work going cold, the family of four headed south to Florida, or so I am told.
First Christian Port Charlotte with a young Pastor named Barry. Mel would become elder and Vicki church secretary.
And a friendship was born that would last many years, through project after project they would shed blood, sweat and tears.
Barry and Janis, and kids on the way, moved to Texas in ‘92, while Mel, Vicki and family in Florida would stay.
But fortunately for us it wasn’t for long, in the Spring of ‘95 they moved to Texas where they finally belonged.
The projects continued, the Family Life Center, the Castle, Youth Building,
The Church on 360, one after the other they moved along quickly.
We’ve had the blessing of seeing the work that you’ve done,
Catching just a glimpse of your sacrifice, hard work, long hours — that was not always fun.
Along with all that, and I think I speak for many, you have our admiration, our respect,
And especially our love for the last 20.
Thank you, Mel and Vicki! We love you and wish you a wonderful and fruitful retirement.
© 2015. Barry L. Cameron
Barry L. Cameron has been the Senior Pastor of Crossroads since 1992 when the church was averaging 188 in morning worship. Today, more than 8,000 people call Crossroads their church home. Pastor Cameron and his wife, Janis, have three children and two grandsons. He’s the author of the bestseller: The ABCs of Financial Freedom, Contagious Generosity, and The Financial Freedom Workbook. The Cameron family has been completely debt free since November 2001.