A Special Visit: Ken Gillpatrick’s Return to CITY

Posted on: February 8th, 2024 by Maddie Schneider | No Comments

Read the article featured in the Oelwein Daily Register HERE


In an extraordinary display of longevity and dedication, CITY was honored to welcome back a remarkable figure from its history, Ken Gillpatrick. At the impressive age of 101, Ken revisited the grounds of CITY, a place where he devoted 41 years of his life. This nostalgic journey was not just a walk down memory lane but a testament to the enduring legacy and evolving culture of CITY.

Ken’s visit was made even more special as he was accompanied by CITY President Colin Wetlaufer, Director of Service Mark Ballo, and Director of Communication Emily Hauber. They guided him through the facilities, showcasing the myriad of changes and advancements CITY has embraced since Ken’s retirement in 1984. It’s been 40 years since Ken last walked these halls as an employee, and the transformation he witnessed is a story of progress and adaptability.

This event is not just about reminiscing the past; it reflects the core values of CITY. It underlines the business’s commitment to recognizing and valuing its employees, past and present. Ken’s visit is a powerful reminder of the impact that dedicated employees have on an organization. It’s a celebration of the tireless efforts, commitment, and contributions that individuals like Ken have invested in CITY.

Mark Ballo (left) shows Ken Gillpatrick (middle) around the CITY washroom floor.


It’s good work and it is honest work and people depend on the services that we provide for them, and I totally agree with you Ken, there are a lot of good days for sure, and I have raised a family through CITY, and a lot of people have. It’s been a really good time for a lot of people,Ballo said.


Ken’s story is more than just a career narrative; it’s a source of inspiration. It highlights the importance of nurturing a workplace culture that respects, honors, and remembers its people. As we showed Ken around, we were walking through the physical changes of the premises and traversing through the chapters of CITY’s evolving story, a story that Ken has been a significant part of.


I think the rental service really wound up to be the backbone of the business. I was in on the beginning of it. I remember back then they had horse-drawn wagons around town. You know the shed that was on the back of it (the former CITY Laundering), they used it for a storeroom. That’s where they kept the horses downtown.” Gillpatrick said.  “Times have certainly changed. This really is the only business in Oelwein that has prospered and expanded. It should go down in history. ” he said.


We are immensely grateful to Ken for his 41 years of service and for giving us the opportunity to spend time with him and his daughters. His visit reinforces the belief that the true strength of a company lies in its people. It’s a poignant reminder that while buildings and technologies may change, the essence of an organization remains rooted in its people.

CITY stands proud, not just because of its business achievements but because of the individuals like Ken who have been pillars of its success. As we continue to evolve and grow, we carry forward the legacy of commitment and service that Ken and many others have contributed to.

Thank you, Ken, for being an integral part of our journey. Your visit has been not only a joy but also an invaluable lesson in appreciating and celebrating our past as we boldly stride into the future.



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