Jerry Waterall...the CSA's Secret Weapon

Fall 2000 CSANews Issue 36  |  Posted date : Mar 06, 2007.Back to list

For those growing up in Minto, New Brunswick, earning their livelihood through coal mining, lumbering and farming was a fact of everyday life. It wasn't unusual, then, for CSA member Jerry Waterall to try his hand at all three professions before leaving school. These were the hard days before child-labour laws...Jerry had just celebrated his 10th birthday when he first went underground on weekends to help in the coal pit.

Jerry later moved his young career above ground and took jobs wherever they were available. From working his way through high school earning 50 cents an hour by painting cars, it was a proud culmination of 13 years of night school effort when Jerry donned a cap and gown to accept his degree from the University of Toronto. His career took many turns, but he finally found his forté in the civil service. Accompanying his many professional designations, he was a member of the Association of Municipal Clerks and Treasurers of Ontario, the Canadian Institute of Certified Administrative Managers and was a Certified Municipal Officer. Over the years, Jerry received many promotions and retired from his position as Director of Elections, Licensing and Statistics after 35 successful years.

That is, retired from the civil service. The real estate market beckoned and Jerry tried his hand at sales, for a time. When the market took a downturn in the early 90s, he and his wife Willie decided it was time to see what "real" retirement was like. After doing their homework by visiting seven RV factories, they took to the open road in a 30-foot, fifth-wheel trailer and haven't looked back since.

For eight years now, both Jerry and Willie have travelled by different routes to the same destination ­ beautiful Yuma, Arizona. One year, they wandered their way to Yuma via the Gulf Coast of Florida and the everglades, another year they spent time in the Texas Rio Grande Valley. This year, these two avid sightseers are planning their winter's journey to Arizona along the Trans-Canada Highway.

Jerry and Willie became members of the CSA shortly after its inception in 1992 and are now mainstays of the CSA's volunteer work force. Whenever the CSA put out the call for help, we could count on Jerry being one of the first to sign up. From assisting at Snowbird Extravaganza North in Toronto, recruiting additional volunteers and assisting with the Yuma Information Meeting, to representing the CSA at the 1999 Yuma Annual Picnic, Jerry has been a tireless goodwill ambassador for the CSA.

When asked why he devoted his time to volunteering for the CSA, it was clear that Jerry sees it as a "win-win" situation. "I enjoy it and it's usually in our own self-interest as well," he said. "Thanks to the CSA's work in allowing Ontarians an additional month of travel within the country, I was able to go home to New Brunswick this summer for a high school reunion. The CSA was instrumental in getting the Ontario government to raise the out-of-country emergency daily hospital rates from $100 to $400 a day. The CSA is helping me. The least that I can do is volunteer a few hours of my time to help it in return."

Just what does Jerry see as his secret to enjoying a successful and fulfiling life? His 46-year marriage to Willie, and the many good people who have helped him along the way.