If you have not met James 'J.D.' Watson, a 17-year veteran of HG&E's Service Department, you are in for a treat. Those who know J.D. describe him as happy, fun, kind, intelligent, handy, creative, and sometimes jolly. When you see J.D. in his HG&E uniform, jolly may not be the first thing that comes to mind, but around the holidays he transforms into Santa Claus and can be found creating cheer at many community organizations, such as the Holyoke Elks, United Congregational Church, Holyoke Geriatric Authority, Knights of Columbus, and the Holyoke Gas Light & Power Guild.
Like Santa, J.D. has a presence that can put a smile on your face within seconds. His positive attitude and excellent workmanship have made him a 'go-to' member of HG&E's team, he does it all! From fixing chairs and cubicles in the main office, to repairing gas appliances and turning on heat for customers in the middle of the night, J.D. is happy to help!
When talking about the group of people he works with, J.D. says, “I love working with everyone at the Holyoke Gas & Electric. We are a team, a family, and together we can accomplish anything.” He is not just an average employee; he creates community at work. Over the years, J.D. has planned softball leagues, built HG&E floats for the Holyoke Saint Patrick's Day Parade, coordinated pancake breakfasts for HG&E's retirees, created bus trips, and most recently, he planned a 50th anniversary party for Holyoke Gas Light & Power Guild.
“Bringing people together is the best! I love meeting with friends, both old and new. ” J.D. said as he started the night shift on a hot July afternoon. Like so many other members of the HG&E team, J.D. is cut from the cloth of the Holyoke community.
J.D. grew up in the Flats Section of Holyoke; he attended Holy Rosary School and graduated from Holyoke Trade High School. As he talks about his life in Holyoke, he describes growing up in a family of nine children, four sisters and four brothers. He laughed and told stories about the Jackson Street Pool, Fife & Drum Corps, Holyoke War Memorial, Mountain Park, Sacred Heart Church, and Our Lady of Perpetual Help Parish. He even remembers his bank book from Holyoke Savings Bank, now home to Holyoke Gas & Electric's Main Office, where he started to save at a young age.
Today, J.D. and his wife, Jackie, commit many hours to volunteering throughout Holyoke. J.D. does not ask to be recognized for all of his efforts to make Holyoke a great place to live, he thinks of it as his duty, and he encourages others to do the same. When he is not spending time with his HG&E family or working in the community, you may find J.D. at his favorite vacation spot in Old Orchard Beach, Maine, playing in his role as husband, father, and grandfather.
“Everywhere we travel, we always meet someone from Holyoke, and it's great!” J.D. said. Next time you meet J.D., be sure to say hello and ask him to tell you a little about Holyoke's rich history, through his eyes.