Happy Veterans Day! Today We Honor Our Fellow Sugar Maker, Kate Cooke, For The Service And Sacrifices She Made For Our Country.
Interview October 27, 2017:
Angela: Kate, thank you for your service. I’d love to learn more about it. In which branch did you serve?
Kate: I served in the US Air Force from 1975 to 1996.
Angela: Wow! So that was about 21 years of service. What was your role in the military?
Kate: My career field was Accounting & Finance, where we dealt with all aspects of military pay, travel, and payments to individuals as well as to vendors. I moved up to Budget and retired as Resource Advisor to Headquarters Communications for the Air Education and Training Command at Randolph AFB, TX.
Angela: That is really impressive. Did you ever serve abroad?
Kate: I served stateside as well as overseas….from Delaware to Nevada, Germany, Colorado, Holland, Texas.
Angela: That is so interesting to me because I love traveling and seeing new places. What made you decide to join the service?
Kate: I’d like to say I joined to serve my country….that came later as I matured and appreciated the role I and others played in supporting the mission of our country. Initially, I joined as it offered me an opportunity to better help support my family and finish college. It wasn’t always easy….demands were high and family often took a back seat. But, there was pride in a job well done, the mission accomplished.
Angela: It sounds like your career was both rewarding and productive, but yes, I imagine it presented a lot of challenges along the way. You mentioned that work demands sometimes made it difficult to balance work life and home life. That really resonates with me as I sometimes find myself struggling to juggle responsibilities and keep a steady equilibrium.
Were there any lessons/principals learned in the military that have helped you today in your maple syrup business?
Kate: I think it was learning a work ethic, to do what was necessary to accomplish the mission (goal), to do it well and to work together as a team. The other really important lesson was when a mistake was made, learn from it and move forward. Assigning blame accomplishes nothing.
Angela: You are obviously an amazing leader. I imagine your strong leadership skills facilitate a smooth and enjoyable experience for all your helpers during maple season. I also have to believe that your cohorts have learned a lot from you.
How did you get involved in the maple syrup industry?
Kate: I married George in 2015; and my eyes were opened to the process and (mostly) fun of making maple syrup.
Angela: Ha ha. I’m so glad that you and George enjoy making maple syrup together. It’s a great hobby to do together each spring.
On behalf of myself and everyone here at Smoky Lake Maple Products, I would like to wish you and George a fun and bountiful 2018 maple season. Thank you for taking the time to do this interview. I admire you for all you accomplished in your career, for your devotion to both family and country, for your leadership, your kindness and your thoughtfulness. Happy Veterans Day, Kate!