PAGE  234  - MARCH 16, 2004

T-113   -  Trainmaster Leo Niemi  -  Retirement Day

It's sad to see a good friend "pull the pin" and say good bye, but it is even more devastating when that very good friend is one of the last people left you could trust and, being the good man that he truly was, he also cared about his people and in turn, the railroaders trusted and cared about him.

We didn't look at Leo as "one of them." We always regarded him as one of us.

Here's a guy who honestly cared about people. No hidden agenda. Nothing phony about him. Just a good guy who honestly believed that there was no need to throw his morals and his integrity out the door when it came to running a railroad.

Photos by Bob (Larry) Chessia

define: Integrity - The quality or state of being of sound moral principle; uprightness, honesty, sincerity.

He never hid from us. He never found the need to hide.
 He was always a stand up guy.
If he had an issue to deal with, he'd deal with it.

There was only one Leo Niemi.

If you did your job and what was expected of you, he knew how to say thank you.....

If you screwed up, you heard from him. Sometimes he'd get so enraged that he'd scream bloody murder at you. But when the screaming and yelling was over and done with, he was still your friend.

When others looked for ways to screw us, he looked for ways to help us.

When others find the need to antagonize and aggravate railroadmen, he looked for ways to keep the peace.

While all the fakers** on the Fifth Floor were having themselves nominated for President's Achievement Awards, his achievement was offering hope and guidance and leadership and giving those of us who really work for a railroad living  the will to do and get the job done.

** Real integrity is doing the right thing, knowing that nobody's going to know whether you did it or not.  (Author Unknown)

Railroaders very rarely agree on anything, but the one thing all railroaders agreed on wholeheartedly is that T-113, Trainmaster Leo Niemi was the man the railroad should have turned to when it came to getting down to business and getting the job done.

We all miss Leo Niemi and the void left by his departure will never be filled, because nowadays, the likes of him are so very far and few between......But the good thing is that we can cherish the thought that we were all fortunate enough to have a good man and a great friend who stood with us, as one of us.

"The only thing I am going to miss is you!"    Leo Niemi's thank you to his railroad family.

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