Facets: Meet Willard. The hardest job he ever had was picking pineapples on the island of Molokai.

Meet Willard. The hardest job he ever had was picking pineapples on the island of Molokai.  

Willard was born on Ewa Plantation on the island of Oahu in Hawaii. He grew up there with his 7 brothers and sisters. In high school he was class president and played football, basketball and ran track. He thinks his high school has the longest tradition of celebrating Abraham Lincoln's birthday, since 1917 to be exact.

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Willard's first job was picking pineapples on the Hawaiian island of Molokai. While it might sound appealing - swaying palm trees, gentle sea breezes, turquoise waves lapping in the distance - it was the hardest job Willard has ever had. It was just plain back breaking, and the heat was relentless. Later, he coached football. He also worked in a legal office.

In 1990, Willard met a girl from Vermont on the beach. They fell in love. They moved to Bradford and got married. Willard took a job at Bradford Oil. He thinks he's visited every Mom and Pop gas station in New Hampshire, Vermont and Massachusetts to make sure they were complying with EPA regulations for gasoline storage. He also thinks the people in the Upper Valley are just the nicest people in the country, and he wanted me to tell you that has never, ever, ever experienced even a hint of racism here. Willard would never live anywhere but here.

Willard lives in White River Junction with his wife and his dog Oreo. He recently met a half-brother that he never knew he had - for over 60 years! Willard is the "houseman" at the Courtyard Marriott in Lebanon. As the houseman, Willard does everything but checking people in. Willard is 62. 

Oreo

What he misses about Hawaii: beachcombing

What he doesn't miss about Hawaii: picking pineapples

You’re reading Facets, a blog that features brief portraits of the people and the places that collectively comprise the Upper Valley. Each one of these people and places is a facet of the Upper Valley. If you'd like to read about more facets, subscribe here.

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