‘An amazing heart’
For 30 years register No. 3 at Walmart in Washington was known as Beulah Mohler’s register.
Thursday afternoon a retirement party was held at the store for 97 year-old Beulah. When she came to the store she told the almost 40 people in attendance “Oh, this is too much.”
“Beulah didn’t know we were doing all of this,” said Holly El Fenniche, who has worked with Beulah since the store opened in 1990.
Several employees, customers, managers, and a past store manager were at her party. Many of them had tears in their eyes because they would no longer see their longtime friend at register No. 3.
Beulah didn’t want to retire, but after she fell last December and again in March her mobility began to be affected, El Fenniche said. Last month, Beulah made the decision to retire just short of a personal goal she had.
“One goal that Beulah had was to get to her 30-year anniversary in August,” El Finniche said, “and she worked really hard toward that and fell just a little bit short. We aren’t looking at it that way. We wanted to just recognize the 30 years she did, so I decided to write a letter to the home office to try to get them to recognize Beulah’s 30 years, too.”
At the retirement party El Fenniche read the letter she sent to the corporate office to the crowd.
“Beulah is loved by everyone for her positive attitude and tremendous work ethic,” El Fenniche said. “I will touch on that in a bit—but also has an amazing heart. She has raised thousands of dollars for Children’s Miracle Network and for many years was our top fundraiser.”
Beulah’s story at the Washington Walmart began when she was 67 years old. She transferred from Marshalltown to Washington after she moved to Kalona to be closer to the University of Iowa Hospitals and Clinics, El Fenniche said. One of her daughters, Chris, was diagnosed with Non-Hodgkin’s lymphoma.
A couple of years later her daughter passed away and left her son, Joseph Mohler.
“Chris and Beulah made the choice for Beulah to adopt Joe,” El Fenniche said. “Now, at the time we all thought this was crazy for Beulah to be taking on a toddler but we under estimated the amazing woman that Beulah is. Joe is now a grown man and has served in the military.”
Last year Joe left the work force to stay home with Beulah to take care of her, El Fenniche said.
“Everyone can see how important Beulah is to Joe,” El Fenniche said.
El Fenniche also mentioned Beulah’s work ethic in the letter she wrote.
“At times when hours are cut, Beulah lets management know that she’s not getting her 40 hours and she wants them back as soon as possible,” El Fenniche said. “All of these years Beulah has worked 40 hours [a week] standing on her feet as a cashier.”
When El Fenniche was done reading the letter to the crowd, Beulah said, “We call it a little bit of writing,” which made El Fenniche laugh.
The request to corporate office to recognize Beulah’s 30 years of service was successful. At the retirement party Beulah was presented with a 30 years of service pin, plaque, and a handwritten letter from the new CEO of Walmart, Doug McMillon, thanking her for her dedication and work ethic, by store manager Dennis Purcell.
“I just want to say to you, Beulah, I only got to work with you for seven years,” Purcell said with tears in his eyes. “It’s been a pleasure. You are an inspiration to me and if only I could live up to what you’ve been able to do and the life you’ve lived. I will never forget you. Take care, and we wish you all the best in your retirement.”
Beulah was also presented with a quilt the store had made for her.
“Oh, who did this?” Beulah asked. “This is too much.”
Jan Miller, personnel manager at the store, told everyone what Beulah said to her about the party.
“ ‘What time is your party” Beulah asked me,” Miller said. “I told her, ‘It’s not my party; this is your party, Beulah.’ “
Former store manager Tony Chancellor spoke a little about working with Beulah. He was the second store manager and worked with Beulah for five years. A lot of things happened in the community, including the tornado. Beulah helped everyone get through that, he said.
“She was a fixture in the store at that time and she was one of the reasons that we made it as well as we did,” Chancellor said. “Beulah, it’s been a pleasure and honor working with you and knowing you as a friend.”
Afterward, cake, punch, and coffee were served. Beulah sat down at the table and several customers, former co-workers, and friends came over to tell her they would miss her. Each time Beulah thanked them and told them she would miss them.
Her grandson, Joseph, said he had to force her to come to the party Thursday because she didn’t want to stop working.
“It was really difficult for her,” he said. “It was the hardest thing ever for her to decide that.”
Joseph was surprised by the attendance for his grandmother’s retirement party.
“I wasn’t expecting this, but neither was she,” he said, “and this is really—I can’t believe it.”
Beulah was very humble about receiving the 30-years-of-service awards. She was also surprised by the number of people who came.
“This is wonderful,” she said. “It was the most wonderful surprise. I couldn’t believe it. This is just really a surprise to me.”
Beulah was also presented with a basket full of retirement cards people have dropped off at Walmart for her. El Fenniche said the store is still accepting cards for Beulah. If you would like to send Beulah a card you can mail it to Walmart and they’ll forward them.