A reporter wrote the following about Erik:
Saying goodbye and good job
-- After 27 years on the job, hospital worker is showered with gifts and respect.
While his father saved lives, Erik Barret touched lives. They worked at the same hospital, the father as a pediatrician and the son as a utility technician.
Mr. Barret spent 27 years at Baylor Medical Center at Irving. He rarely missed a day. He loved his job, And he always wore a smile.
Now, he's moving on.
"When I retired about three years ago, Erik told me he thought that maybe he should retire, too," said Dr. Walter Barret, who was on staff at Baylor Irving and Children's Medical Center in Dallas for 43 years. "It's just the time for him to leave."
His eldest son is only 46 - an age that's young for retirement, but a milestone for someone with Down syndrome, a genetic disorder that causes varying degrees of mental retardation and physical problems.
"When he was diagnosed, the doctors asked if we wanted to put him away," Dr. Barret said. "Not much was done back then for children with Down syndrome."
But he stayed with his parents and quietly shattered stereotypes.
Mr. Barret learned vocational skills at Helping Hands in Irving, which is now Our Children's Center. He ran track and became a good bowler. He graduated from Notre Dame School in Dallas.
And for more than a quarter of a century, he's been a dedicated employee. His tenure at the hospital surpasses most staffers in his department.
When his supervisor wanted to give him a break during his last week on the job, Mr. Barret was offended.
"He didn't want anyone helping him," said Al Gibbs, director of Environmental Services.
In his blue uniform shirt, Mr. Barret beams with pride.
"Erik is such a success story," said his father. "Where many people just meet their potential, he has exceeded his."
Mr. Barret's co-workers wholeheartedly agree.
Doctors, nurses, administrators and staffers stopped by his retirement party last week to say goodbye.
Hospital chef Ed Perrotta prepared a wide array of dishes for more than 200 guests. Bags of M&M's and Skittles served as centerpieces.
Mr. Gibbs presented gifts to his wide-eyed employee. A big Dallas Cowboy fan, Mr. Barret received a basket of team goodies and a stereo unit and headphones.
Even the city pitched in to honor Mr. Barret. Mayor Herbert Gears sent a proclamation stating that Jan 31, 2007, was Erik Barret day in Irving.
The guest of honor didn't blush as his friends applauded loudly. He just grinned.
Many guests were teary-eyed as they hugged Mr. Barret goodbye. They wished him well and said he will be missed.
"Some people leave an imprint that will never be replaced," Baylor Irving chief Jim Thaxton said. "Erik is one of those people."
"I love him a lot," said Sharon Martinez, Mr. Barret's favorite nurse. "He loves to sneak up on me and tease me. Once he leaves, it will be hard. He always smiled and waved at me."
"I'm so proud of Erik," Mr. Gibbs said. "He has such a strong commitment to the hospital. and he's very versatile."
"I sometimes mop and clean the stairs," Mr. Barret said.
The oldest of four, Mr. Barret was born in Memphis, Tenn., but came to Texas with his father's job. When he started at the hospital, he lived in a group home in Dallas. For the past two years he's lived behind the hospital.
"He loves being independent," Dr. Barret said. "He can manage everything but money."
Now it's time for a change. Mr. Barret will move to a group home on 160 acres in Brownwood, where he will still be able to work.
While sad to leave his Baylor family, Mr. Barret says he is excited about his future.
"I'm going to the country," he said. "I'm going to have new friends."
I know I'm a proud sister, but wasn't that wonderful? God's blessings abound.
Today when I was in Erik's room he pointed to this article (hanging on his wall) and looked at me, wanting me to comment on it. I said, "Yes, Erik, that's YOU in the newspaper article. You worked at the hospital." He points to this article almost every single time I visit him. I'll bet he shows it to everyone else who comes in too.
Thanks for reading and have a wonderful week.