SANATOGA PA – Sanatoga resident Lew Babel remembers when, as the area’s former outside sales manager for Firestone-brand products, he would travel to local farms with new tractor tires and mix the calcium solution that would be added to them as ballast. “Spent 23 years in that job alone,” Babel said Monday night (July 7, 2014) with a broad smile and pride in his voice. “Did pretty much everything in it that needed doing.”
Lewis E. “Lew” Babel Jr. offers a typical smile during a recent commissioners’ meeting
The fact is, Babel – who a week ago (June 30) retired from Firestone after assuming a wide variety of titles, and providing more than 51 years of service – has done pretty much everything that company handed him at its long-standing retail and auto care center on the southwest corner of East High Street and Armand Hammer Boulevard in Pottstown.
“I’ve had every job in that store,” Babel explained happily at Monday’s meeting of the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ meeting, during which he received congratulations from board and audience members alike on his departure from the workday grind. He’s held inside and outside sales assignments, been in the garage as a mechanic and service manager, and outlasted more supervisors than he can count.
One job he’s not leaving, however, is that of township fire marshal. “That’s going to keep me busy for awhile yet,” Babel said of the board-appointed position. In it, he meets regularly with volunteers of the Sanatoga and Ringing Hill fire companies to discuss fire-related issues, coordinates discussions between the companies and township, makes recommendations to commissioners regarding company requests, and also conducts fire-related inspections.
Now 72, Babel said he’s been working since age 10. He’s not about to stop, either; he just won’t make the daily 6-minute commute from his North Pleasant View Road home to the shop. Instead, Babel said he’s been putting his own house in order, literally. His two-car garage got cleaned out first. There’s a pile of limbs and brush behind it, too, that’s already being reduced to chips.
And he expects to have the monthly fire marshal’s report in hand and ready for distribution to commissioners in August.
Related (to the Lower Pottsgrove Board of Commissioners’ July 7 meeting):