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CN retirees honoured last Saturday

Ken Johnston

A crowd of about 200 gathered as five individuals were honoured at the annual Canadian National Railway retirement dinner and dance at the Rainy River Community Centre last Saturday evening.
Ab Desrosier, Dan Usiski and Walter Wagner of Rainy River and George Bliss of Fort Frances and Henry Huber of Atikokan, along with their spouses sat at the head table for the evening. Ralph Armstrong acted as Master of Ceremonies and gave some of the history to each of the retirees' careers.
Walter Wagner hired on July 8, 1965 as a Brakeman. He was promoted July 8, 1971 to Conductor. In May of 1995 he was promoted to Conductor Locomotive Operator. He worked for CNR in Rainy River, Sioux Lookout and Symington Yard (Winnipeg). He retired on October 30, 2000 with 35 years and 4 months service.
Ab Desrosier hired on May 8, 1966 as a Brakeman. He was promoted to conductor May 8, 1970. In May of 1995 he was promoted to Conductor Locomotive Operator. He worked in Rainy River, Sioux Lookout, Winnipeg, Humboldt, Sask., Edmonton, AB., and Thunder Bay. He officially retires March 31, 2002 with 35 years and 10 months of service.
Dan Usiski began working for CNR on May 10, 1966 as a Brakeman. He was promoted to Conductor on May 10, 1970. May 1995 saw him promoted to Conductor Locomotive Operator. He worked in Rainy River, Melville, Sask., Thunder Bay, Edmonton, AB., and Jasper, AB. Dan made his last trip October 16, 2000 and will officially retire May 31, 2002 with 36 years of service.
Hank Huber hired on with CNR on Sept. 29, 1959 in Signals & Communications Service. He was promoted to Signals & Communication Maintainer May 13, 1964. He worked in Symington, Savant Lake, Collins, Ont. and Atikokan. He retired on Jan. 31, 2001 with 41 years and 4 months of service.
George Bliss was a Field Maintainer for Work Equipment his entire career which began on Jan. 28, 1967 and ended with retirement on Jan. 8, 2001 with 34 years of service.
These men represent 182.5 years of service to CNR, something that CNR representative Richard Short made a note of when congratulating them.
The retirees also received congratulatory letters from the General Chairperson of the United Transportation Union, Barry Henry, and Vice President of UTU John Armstrong. Congratulatory certificates were also presented to them from Kenora-Rainy River M.P. Bob Nault and M.P.P. Howard Hampton.
Gifts from the retirement committee were also presented to the retirees and their spouses.
Each of the retirees were given a chance to speak, with all thanking everyone for coming. But Dan Usiski seemed to strike a chord with everyone present when he said, "We all came back to Rainy River because we know where the best railroaders in Canada are." That drew a round of applause from the audience.
The evening wrapped up with a group photo and a dance.