The Rev. Robert “Bob” Silber, executive director of Eastern Catawba Cooperative Christian Ministry, was honored on April 25 during a celebration at Conover City Park. It was a bittersweet day, as friends, volunteers, staff, and the board of directors came together to honor Silber and his service as he prepares to retire.
ECCCM’s Board of Directors President David Hartsoe opened the gathering, then introduced Mitch Long, also a board member, to deliver the invocation. Hartsoe then spoke to those present about the significant impact Silber has had on the organization. He expressed deep appreciation on behalf of the many thousands of people whose lives have been impacted during Silber’s service.
Hartsoe also introduced the other speakers for the event. Mayor Pro Tem of Newton, John Stiver spoke of the community impact Silber has had on Newton, and presented him with a proclamation recognizing him for his achievements and contributions to the community. Mayor Lee Moritz of Conover thanked Silber for his service through ECCCM on behalf of Conover residents. On a more personal note, Moritz reminisced about being present with Silber in a Bible study when Silber first mentioned feeling that he was being called into ministry. Mayor Pro Tem of Conover, Kyle Hayman thanked God, giving Him credit for leading the mission of ECCCM’s ministry with Silber as its executive director.
Kristal Manning, ECCCM’s current assistant director, presented Silber with gifts of appreciation from the ministry, including a scrapbook consisting of the many cards that were sent in for Silber, as well as an engraved crystal cross. Additionally, the ECCCM Charlie Bunn Food Pantry van was present and filled by attendees with canned food donations in lieu of gifts.
Silber gave a humble and emotional thank you to all who came to celebrate this day with him and his wife Karen. David Hartsoe then made closing comments, after which attendees mingled, shared snacks, and gave their thanks and best wishes to Silber.
After nearly 11 years of service, Silber has stated that he is proud of his work, but felt it was time to retire. He has been planning ahead for years and setting ECCCM up for continued success under new leadership. At the end of May, Silber will retire and Manning will take over on June 1.
In his retirement, Silber plans to relax for a year, but knows ultimately he’ll find himself in another position helping others.