For the past 32 years, Mike Bond has taught special education at Thomas Jefferson High School in Council Bluffs. But as each of those school years would come to a close, Bond wasn’t celebrating or relaxing.
Instead, he was going back to work.
For the past 38 years, Bond has worked for the city of Council Bluffs Swimming Pools. He started working for the city as a lifeguard when he was in high school. Today, he’s the aquatics manager, a position he’s held for approximately 15 years.
“I’ve never had a summer off,” he said. “I wouldn’t know what it was like.”
But he’s OK with that.
Bond said he starts his job with the city in January usually doing things for the pool once a week. Starting in April, he’s working with the pool every day in addition to his daily teaching duties.
“There’s many a time I get home at 11 p.m. or midnight,” he said. “When we filled the pool, I think I left at 1 a.m.”
Bond said the city has been a great organization to work for.
“The job itself is very rewarding. I get to deal with the public, and I’ve had hundreds of employees who have worked for me over the years,” he said. “They’re fabulous — just very loyal. A number of them still come back and say hi to me.”
One perk of the job is that there’s something different to do every day.
There are days when he works with mechanical aspects of the pool, such as the boilers and the filter system. Other days he’s dealing with personnel issues or training lifeguards.
“I like being able to train the guards to let them know how serious the job is,” Bond said. “And most of them are pretty surprised at how mentally taxing the job is.”
Bond said he and everyone he works with work hard to create a good product for the city and to create a very safe, family atmosphere.
Bond said he doesn’t have any plans to retire from his aquatics manager position just yet but just retired from teaching.
He said he’ll miss teaching, which runs heavily in his family. His father, three brothers and three sisters-in-law were also teachers.
Bond’s favorite part about teaching was watching his students grow.
“It was definitely the most rewarding part,” he said. “I was lucky enough to have my students all year long in the program I had. It was a work-related class, so I started at the beginning of the year and had them until the end of the year. Watching the amount of growth that takes place during that amount of time — I’m pretty lucky to have been able to see that.”
Even though he’ll still work during the summer, he’ll have the fall and winter to make more time for one of his favorite hobbies — skiing.
“Our family loves Colorado, and we like to go ski there,” he said.
“Before, all we’ve ever been able to do is go during the times when everyone else goes. ... Now we’ll be able to go other times. We’re really looking forward to that.”