By Nathan
Published

Today, we introduce a second HoliBlogger … Nathan Ryder joined our PR staff this week:

Sometimes trial by fire is just the best way to learn or as Mrs. Koch put it yesterday, getting thrown in at the deep end.

I’m a newcomer to Holiday World, joining the family as Public Relations Manager on Wednesday.

Little did I know less than 24 hours after dotting the last “I” and crossing the last “T” on the novel of human resources paperwork, I would be wrangling Mrs. Koch, two of her grown children and two grandchildren. It was a treat I’ll chuckle about for a long time.

The wrangling wasn’t over anything that happened at the park. Mrs. Koch was inducted into the Evansville Business Hall of Fame at the Junior Achievement awards breakfast held in downtown Evansville Thursday. Accompanying her was her son Dan, our fearless President and CEO and his two young children. Mrs. Koch’s younger daughter Natalie was also along for the excitement, getting a prime seat at the head table next to her mom.

Keep in mind, I had never met Dan or Mrs. Koch.

I knew Natalie from my whirlwind office tour on my first day and was pleased to see a couple of other familiar faces when I entered the ballroom for breakfast. My introduction to Dan happened just as I returned to our Holiday World table with my plate of food. Sitting in my seat at the table was Dan’s seven-year-old son David, a perfect little gentleman, dressed immaculately in a khaki suit complete with tie.

I wouldn’t dream of booting a Koch from a seat, let alone this little guy who sat politely eating his french toast sticks and strawberries. Then Natalie insisted I take her seat. It was like getting a seat at the Koch family dinner table!

Mrs. Koch circled her flock before the program began, carrying a plate of food and nibbling cheerfully as she walked around to talk with each of us. She knew who I was and we laughed about meeting each other for the first time while both our mouths were full of food. She apologized for missing my introductory lunch on Wednesday (as if I was going to hold a grudge against this sweet lady who was also my new boss).

The program began and eventually Mrs. Koch was called into the spotlight, awarded for her achievements working tirelessly to mentor any youth that crossed her path. Mrs. Koch, who pays attention to every little detail and instills some pretty astounding work ethics, made sure to thank the packed hall for turning out so early in the morning.

If you can’t already tell by her glowing personality, Mrs. Koch knows how to work a room no matter what the size. Just a couple weeks past all the glamor and glitz of the Oscars, Mrs. Koch made sure to slide in a crowd pleasing poke at herself with the fun and witty sense of humor that is purely her own.

Mrs. Koch told the crowd her “gown was J.C. Penney and the jewels were paid for by me.” Who couldn’t laugh? She’s good!

Along with the honors, Mrs. Koch was bestowed with an award that weighed about as much as a 25-pound sack of flour, a stack of programs and even a beautifully framed picture for her office wall.

Looking at the stack, I thought they should have included a dolly to carry it all back out to the parking lot. You don’t need a dolly though when you’ve got a staff to pitch in and help and who doesn’t want to help out Mrs. Koch. She giggled, looking at my arms overloaded with her loot and exclaimed, “only your second day and we’re really throwing you in the deep end, carrying all my stuff.”

If this is truly the deep end here at Holiday World & Splashin’ Safari, I think I like my new family.

Check out the fun video below that was produced to introduce Mrs. Koch and her achievements to the crowd.

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