Bob Gilewski (Giles)
Paul - Thanks for posing the questions. Here goes...
1. I’d say that my most satisfying achievement has been living long enough to grow as a global grandparent. My wife Nancy and I have four of “our own” grandchildren, three in Louisville, our hometown for 45 years, and one in Indianapolis. Those of us fortunate to have grandkids know how special they are.
Four years ago Nancy and I were blessed to lead a team from our church that co-sponsored a refugee family from Syria - a widowed mom and four young boys ranging in age from four to nine. The boys are now 8, 10, 11, and 13. It’s been a joy (and sometimes a pain!) to watch and help them grow in their new country. I consider mom as a friend and the boys as grandsons. Through this family it’s been an education getting to know our local Middle Eastern community, their religion, their cultures.
Another blessing has been the opportunity to go on five church mission trips to Guatemala, including one this past July. We minister to a small orphanage in Guatemala City and to a rural church community in Santiago, doing construction work and working/playing with the children in both locales. I humbly count fifteen boys and girls from the orphanage as grandchildren. And how’s this for a small world - during this most recent trip I talked by phone with fellow NTW69er Phyllis MacCartney, who lives in Guatemala! Our schedules got in the way of meeting in person, so I hope we can meet during my next trip.
2. My one do-over would have been to give music more of a try as a career, because it’s always been my passion. I’ve been in the chemical engineering biz my entire working career, including making bourbon at Jim Beam for six years. That has paid the bills over the years much better than my musical abilities could have. Fortunately I’ve been able to play regularly in four bands, plus an occasional foray in church. Especially in the latter venue, I always say I play well enough not to scare small children but not good enough to quit my day job. 🎷
3. As you might infer from my posted name, I’m one of the few males with a “maiden name.” I legally went back to my family name in 1980, so I’ve been Gilewski longer than I was Giles. However, I still answer to Ajax!
Thanks for listening, and as the only Kentucky resident in our class, see y’all this weekend!