Forgive me for being selfish with this column, but it has been a rough few weeks. It has been a little over nine years since my husband and I rolled into Renton. Outside of that first drive down the shabbier part of Sunset Boulevard — where the now defunct porn shop was — there has never been anything that I didn’t like about Renton. The people. The restaurants. The parks. The small-townishness of it. The Farmer’s Market. The college and its faculty and staff. My church. And, did I mention the people?
I have tears in my eyes as I write this column. But before I go on, let me tell you why. My husband has spent the last 46 years educating students. He’s taught mathematics, applied physics, architectural drafting, served as an administrator at a vocational high school, vice president of students and administration, and twice as a college president (in Spokane and here in Renton).
We’ve been in Renton for nine years. My husband lives and breathes what is good for students. He loves putting people to work. He is committed to making sure that students receive skills so that they can get jobs that will feed their families and helping them to learn a new language that will make them successful in their new adopted country. He also believes in giving back to the community. I’ve learned a lot about that from him. He’s the first one to lend a hand if a hand is needed, and isn’t afraid to get his hands dirty. He believes in this community. So do I.
This is why we were so deeply deeply hurt that a few people thought he should step down from his position as president of Renton Technical College. I cannot even begin to articulate how much it cut me to the core that someone would even suggest that Don Bressler wasn’t doing the best job possible. But back to my tears, and to the people. You rallied around us. You sent emails. You placed phone calls. You wrote letters. You wrote on Facebook and blogs. You wished him Happy Birthday on the day the meeting was held that was destined to change our lives. A hundred people showed up to support him (and me); and you told the board of trustees and the world what I already know. Don Bressler is a good man, he’s done a good job and he deserved to stay at RTC. In fact, he offered an olive branch to improve communications with the board. They rejected that. Three people. Three (and one was a de-facto) voted to dismiss my husband, after 46 sterling years in education. One of them showed up for graduation.
And after all that, my husband was there, just as he promised, the first day of class, to shake their hands at graduation. From the bottom of my heart, I cannot thank you enough for your generosity, your support, your love and your prayers.
Susan Bressler is an active member of a number of Renton organizations, including Piazza Renton. Her column regularly appears on the business pages of the Renton Reporter. E-mail her at firstname.lastname@example.org.