Anyone who knows Gary Ellingson, knows he is a stand-up guy, an honest, hard-working, dedicated-to-the-community, man.
You probably also know as the Manager of Cut Bank Job Service, Gary has been successful in helping many, many job seekers find work with employers. He has done that for over 28 years.
What you may not know is that Gary, after almost three decades of time with Cut Bank Job Service, has decided it is time to retire and he did that on Friday, Oct. 25.
“It has been quite a ride and a whole lot of fun,” Gary admitted.
Gary was hired by Don Crail just over 28 years ago, when Don was the Manager of Cut Bank Job Service, which was located on Central Avenue at that time.
“I really wasn’t looking for a job at the time I learned about the opening in Cut Bank,” Gary shared. “I had been in the banking business for a number of years and had sort of retired from that line of work and been taking some time off doing what I love, fishing and hunting.”
His cousin, who worked at the Job Service in Glasgow, told him about the job in Cut Bank and while Gary was not a 100 percent committed to looking into it, he decided, “what the heck,” as he said, and applied.
“I told my cousin I would only apply if I didn’t have to fill out a huge job application and if I could just write out my job experience,” he said laughing. “I did that and came to Cut Bank for an interview and as I got home, which was in Billings at the time, my phone was ringing and it was an offer for the manager job in Cut Bank.”
The rest is, as they say, history and the man who was not sure he even wanted a job, has found tremendous success in that job, helping many people along the way. He has also made a lot of good friends and earned respect of his co-workers, the employers he has helped with filling their job openings and the community.
“He is a legend,” praised Fred Greco, a co-worker and friend of Gary’s for years. “We are going to miss him around here.”
Much has changed at Cut Bank Job Service during Gary’s employment with them. Technology was not a big thing in the beginning and now, it is everything. Rules and regulations were in existence years ago, but now there many, many more of them and they continue to change.
“It is time. It is the right time for me to do this,” Gary said.
And while it might be the right time for him, there is still a lot about this day-to-day world he has been a part of for 28 years, that he is really going to miss.
“I will miss the people the most. All the ones we have seen and helped, all the ones I have worked with over the years. This is a great staff here in this office, probably the best I have seen. I am going to miss seeing them every day. But I expect that I will come in and harass everyone now and then,” he said smiling.
Gary’s first line of work wasn’t in the employment industry, he was a contractor doing rock work and living in Red Lodge. “I love that area and really enjoyed the work,” he said.
But then he found his way into banking.
“I started out as a teller in Plentywood and worked my way up through the ranks. Or maybe I just stayed with them long enough, they decided to keep me on and move me up. Either way, I ended up in Culbertson working as the Vice President at the bank there. And from there, I went to work as the Vice President at the bank in Choteau.”
It was after a number of years in the banking business that Gary decided he wanted to take a short retirement.
“But you can’t just fish and hunt forever,” he said, “and that is when the Job Service position came to be.”
Gary and his wife, Irene, have been married for over 25 years and the two of them plan on traveling in their retirement years, going to see family, kids and stepkids, and, of course, their eight grandchildren and nine great grandchildren.
“They are all scattered, so we will go see kids and my brother lives in Minnesota, so we will go see him and who knows, we might spend a month or two down south,” he said.
Gary also plans on staying with the hunter education program that he has been involved in for the last 30 years. “That is something I truly enjoy.”
Wherever or whatever Gary plans for retirement, he does know that Cut Bank will always be home and will more than likely be the home base in between traveling trips, hunting adventures and anywhere else retirement takes him.
“I feel very fortunate that I have the good health I do. So, I plan on keeping busy. I can always find something to do.”