Rafael’s Onofre passing
Dear Friends, Coworkers, Ladies and Gentlemen:
It is sad that within a short period of time we have lost another member of our family.
Rafael Onofre, although he did not come to work for quite some time, was a part of this organization.
He had all the reasons in the world not to come to work due to his illness but within the back of my mind, I kept his job open in case, he recovered because miracles do happen sometimes.
I remember a couple of years ago, I was working in my office on the computer and as I was concentrating on what I was doing with the daily problems and issues I have to face, I took a quick look outside and I saw Rafael coming into work. He was walking in his specific style of movements.
He was looking very pale and I thought for a moment, that he was very ill.
The colour in his face was a verification of my assessment.
I knew right there and then that I had an issue to deal with.
Of course it is easy for an employer at that stage to find a reason to give a separation slip but that
did not cross my mind.
Rafael has given many years of service and on that day, he was facing a problem and that problem
was not only his, but mine too.
Not long after the course of the day, Jerry informed me that Rafael had to leave because he felt ill.
Two days later, I found out that he was at the hospital.
I made it a point to visit him very late at night, way past visiting hours, between 2:00 – 3:00 a.m.
I had to give some explanation to security and finally when he realized who I was and whom I was visiting,
he told me; Mr. Goudas I never saw an employer coming up at this time to visit an employee and
I am going to take you there myself.
When I finally arrived at the room his daughter was at his bedside.
Everything indicated that he was in his last moments but I had the chance to have a private conversation with him and God gave him the chance to partially recover and he was able to return to work for a short period of time.
Until one day he came into my office, thanked me, shook my hand and told me he could not work any longer.
He did make it a point to call every so often and talk to me.
After a long period of illness, his health failed on April 12, 2006.
Rafael’s passing, I am almost very certain, will create a void in everybody’s heart in the warehouse,
the packaging plant, in the head office employees, and especially mine.
Therefore permit me to talk on behalf of all of us and send our condolences
to Noel and Niki, Julie Warlow, Renee and Donna.
And to all the employees who have shared moments with him, a friendly reminder that his machine will
always remain as the Rafael (Raf’s) Machine.
May his soul rest in peace.