Paul Beecher retired Friday from Cache Employment and Training Center after 37 years. For the first 15 years he volunteered, then he was hired full-time. He spent 22 years as full-time fleet and facility manger, and best friend to many of the clients.
CETC trains clients to use their best life skills and to participate in and contribute to their community. Disability services are provided at CETC in a controlled setting and out in the community.
Paul is out every afternoon shepherding clients to safely board their buses. The clients all treat him with respect and kindness and he, of course, treats the clients with the same.
“The clients and staff have grown to love him,” said his wife, Kae Lynn Beecher, and the executive director of the CETC. “The clients have had a good relationship with him and he has built a real trust with them. That’s been a good thing.”
She said he has been around long enough to know how to do things and where to find things, so without him they may struggle for a while.
Paul was the one who found their current location to the officials at 275 W. 400 S. before he was hired. The building started out as a lumber store, then it housed a seat cover manufacturer facility.
“Paul knew about the place and it was vacant for many years,” Kae Lyn said. “When we were looking for a building, he made the suggestion. We have made many improvements over the years.”
Paul has seen a lot of changes in both the building and personnel over the years.
“I’ve seen it grow from 75 clients to 200 clients, and the staff grow from 10 or 12 to 115,” he said. “I feel like this whole place is a part of me.”
Lance Ernstrom, the production manager, has moved into Paul’s position. He has been with CETC for about 6 years. Lance started as the production aid and then became production manager.
“Our biggest job here is to educate the general public on how to handle people with disabilities,” Paul said. “We spend time giving tours, showing them our facilities and what we do. I feel like this place is a part of me, the whole place,” he said.
Upon retirement, Paul plans to put more effort into teaching concealed weapons and martial arts. Paul said he is really going to miss the people and only plans to return when he teaches First Aid, Restraint and other classes to the staff.