The 28 page Association of retired Conservation Service Employees (ARCSE) Newsletter came in the mail today. It is published every 2 months with information about people who have retired from the USDA Soil Conservation (SCS)and the Natural Resource Conservation Service (NRCS). The latter represents a name change that occurred back in the mid-nineties. The Agency typically has had some 12,000 employees over the years and I expect there are at least that many retirees. Having been the Director of Personnel for the Agency at one time, I had an opportunity to know many of the employees personally. I was able to "keep-up" with agency personnel during the years following my retirement from the Agency while working with the Nebraska Natural Resources Commission. Then as Executive VP for the Soil and Water Conservation Society (SWCS) in the early 90's, I had close contact with them. I served as president of ARSCE during the 2002-2004 period and attended annual meeting for a few years following. Times have changed, the Agency has changed but many lasting friendship continue. The "In Memoriam" section seems to get longer with each issue and yet, longevity seems to be a pattern. Most of the employees spent many years out in the countryside working directly with farmers where they got physical exercise and lived healthy life styles. We also have the peace of mind that we helped to protect and conserve the Nations Natural Resources. Though I know fewer of the people referred to with each passing issue, it is still like a "family reunion" when it comes.