Letter: What Hardy did for meI heard today that Hardy Rickbeil passed away and I set here in my office with tears in my eyes thinking about the man that had such a profound influence on my life.
By: Kim Vogel, Tarpin Springs, Fla., Worthington Daily Globe
I heard today that Hardy Rickbeil passed away and I set here in my office with tears in my eyes thinking about the man that had such a profound influence on my life. Hardy was an innovative businessman, way ahead of his time, introducing concepts into a small community business that were cutting edge even for big business at the time. But more important than Hardy’s business innovations was Hardy’s genuine drive to do the right thing, if it made money or not.
To this day I remember the moment that Hardy influenced my behavior for the rest of my life, a moment when he didn’t think anyone was looking. You see, Hardy had gone out of his way to hire me over Christmas break, a poor college student, needing to earn money to go to school. He fought the board to hire me because Rickbeil’s did not need another employee. I was standing on the back of the delivery truck, loading furniture in the alley behind the furniture store. Hardy came strolling out of the back of the hardware store, dressed in dapper long overcoat, wearing fine gloves and a nice hat. I stood watching this man walk through the alley picking up all the trash he found along the way. Here is a man who owned a good hunk of downtown Worthington, who had oodles of employees he could have go pick up the trash, but chose to do it himself when nobody was looking. I understood at that very instant the importance of the bond between business and community. I knew at that very instant that I wanted to be just like the man I saw before me in the dapper coat.
Worthington is blessed with a multitude of these silent individuals who so positively influenced my generation. Hardy Rickbeil, Earl Nester, Russ Rickers, Ralph Lewis and Bill Potts are a few who quietly influenced me; well, Mr. Potts wasn’t so quiet about it. I owe Hardy a debt of gratitude for all he taught me about the business and community. There is hardly a day where he does not influence my decisions.