I would like to start by thanking the POA membership first and foremost. Thank you for putting your trust in me to serve as your president. It is truly an honor and a humbling experience. I appreciate the trust you put in me, and I have striven to always make decisions with the needs of all Pennsylvania optometrists in mind. With a little over two months to go in my presidency as I am writing this, I feel like it has been a successful year. Hopefully, if all goes well in the next several weeks, we will achieve at least some of our legislative goals before the year is over.
To my fellow Board members, both the current Board and those I’ve served with over the last seven years, thank you. Despite all the time away from my family and office, and all the hard work and debate, I’ve always looked forward to the time spent working with each of you. I’ve learned a lot from you and made some great lifetime friends. As I approach the end of my service and I’m asked by the nominating committee to suggest members who should be considered for the Board, I am sorely tempted to suggest myself as a candidate for trustee in 2017. I have really enjoyed it that much. However, I also really enjoy being married, and I don’t think my wife would put up with another eight years, so I’m not actually going to do it. As a member of the association, I know we are in good hands moving forward and I’m excited to see where this terrific group of leaders takes us over the next few years.
Another dedicated group that deserves thanks is the volunteer members who have put in so much time and effort on behalf of optometry in Pennsylvania. My first presidential task was to ask a large number of colleagues to volunteer their time to serve on the various committees and task forces that implement the programs and achieve the goals that the Board sets. They give their time and talents willingly and without compensation, taking time away from business and family commitments while their efforts go largely unnoticed in many cases. Thank you all for your service.
Next, I really want to thank our POA staff. We all have dedicated staff members in our offices who go above and beyond their job descriptions to help our practices grow and thrive. Well, you all also have a great, dedicated staff working for you every day in Harrisburg. When I say every day, I mean it. It seems like they never stop working — even when they are not at the office, they are still working. I can’t count how many times I have sent an email after-hours or on a weekend, expecting to receive an answer on the next business day, only to hear back from the staff within an hour. They are truly dedicated to your profession, and exceed expectations every day. Deb, Ilene, Kelsey, and Charlie, words are not enough to express my thanks. Your ability to complete multiple special projects on time and beyond expectations, while still getting the everyday tasks of running the association done, amazes me regularly. I also want to give a special thanks to Joyce, who although she has been “retired” for almost two years, seems to answer the phone about half the time when I call the office, and is seemingly always there when I visit.
Lastly, thank you to those members who have taken the time to contact their senators in regard to the pending bills that will affect your practices for years to come. If you haven’t yet, please go to the POA website now, look at the legislation and talking points, and write, email, call, or visit your senator to express your support for SB 1012 and SB 978.
Thanks again everyone,
Richard Christoph, O.D.