Chris Livingston 3M NWFA Expert School 2007.jpg

Something I recall as a kid and young man was my Daddy and uncles talking to friends they had for years and years. I always told myself that someday I want to have friends like that-the kind of friends you have for a lifetime.

Well, it hit me just a bit ago that you do not make old friends, you grow with your friends.

I want to share with you a friend who most of us call an "old friend," just like my daddy had: Chris Livingston. Chris is retiring this year from 3M after 38 years-an outstanding service not to a company, but to his friends. I cannot tell you how many classes he has been at, how many folks he spent one-on-one time with and how many times he helped so many get out of a jam on a job.

Knowledge is nothing without the wisdom you need to apply it, and wisdom shared freely to help others is a blessing in my heart. When you serve others and give to others, that always is great, but when you serve others and give to others with no desire for something in return, that is passion. Passion is so easy to see when you talk or work with Chris!

With this post, I want to say thank you to my old friend. Chris, you're a man with many years, but truth be told you're a man with many old friends who have only been blessed with your knowledge, wisdom and passion. I hope that when it becomes my time to turn that page in my life, I can say that I gave half of what you have done for so many. The way you give to others is impressive and selfless. Mr. Chris, thank you is just not enough; you, sir, are a lifelong friend who will always be an example to the next generation.

Enjoy the next chapter in life, and always know your friends will miss that smile and passion. God blessed us with you, and we all wish God's blessing on you.   

Be safe, my friend!

Wayne Lee

Wayne Lee worked for a sanding machine manufacturer for 24 years before starting his own wood floor and tile contracting business, Cardinal Hardwood & Tile, full time in 2008. In 2013 he began working as business development and technical advisor for Middle Tennessee Lumber. Wayne has taught thousands of students at wood flooring schools and has his Craftsman, Master Craftsman, Vanguard and Ambassador degrees from the NWFA. He is based in Springville, Tenn., where he lives with his wife of 30 years, two daughters, one dog and three barn cats.