As rude as it might be to fixate on one’s name, it’s something I was entirely guilty of upon meeting Dare’s facilities manager, John Yocum. My curiosity getting the best of me, I searched the etymology of the name Yocum and came across this passage from Houseofnames.com:
The surname Yocum was first found in Yorkshire, at Acomb which is now a suburb within the City of York Unitary Authority. The place name is most likely derived from the Old English acum, which meant “at the oak trees.”
Knowing the oak has symbolic meaning in Celtic history, I wondered what other symbolism it might possess. Urnbios.com provides this fascinating explanation:
It grows slowly, but surely at its own rate. Oak is often associated with honor, nobility, and wisdom as well thanks to its size and longevity. Oaks are known to easily surpass 300 years of age making it a powerful life-affirming symbol. “The oak is a living legend representing all that is true, wholesome, stable, and noble.”
While Shakespeare famously asked, “What’s in a name?” it all too often turns out that we embody the ancient roots from which we’ve grown, whether we are aware of their significance or not. And while John might not have any personal relationship with Yorkshire or oak trees his time at Dare has proven him to be true and stable, an individual who has grown slowly but surely at his own rate.
In high school, John struggled with academics but excelled in his auto mechanics shop and welding classes. Upon earning his GED in 1981, John joined the United States Navy where he developed the strong work ethic and team mentality he would bring to Dare years later.
After serving his time in the Navy, John gathered work experience through various endeavors; working in sales delivery and as a maintenance mechanic among other things. In 1995 John joined the team at Dare as a part-time mechanic and was promoted to full-time mechanic a year later. As a full-time employee, John proved himself as a hardworking team-player and after just a few years he was promoted to facilities manager.
As the facilities manager, John is in charge of maintaining and managing anything that happens in and around the facilities. Looking over the heat, the AC, the cleaning crew, kitchen supplies, bathroom supplies—anything that needs doing, John is the one who gets it done. In addition to maintaining the facilities, John is also in charge of vehicle and equipment repair and services.
Work vehicles take a beating every time they go out for a shift, so John has to be on top of every vehicle to make sure it’s performing at one-hundred percent, one-hundred percent of the time. John strives to get the maximum amount of miles from each vehicle for the minimum expense. Power sweepers in particular require constant maintenance and supervision, frequently going through parts that we as typical car owners rarely have to worry about replacing.
When he’s not working, John leads a simple life with his wife Cookie, of eighteen years, whom he met through Cookie’s daughter, Christine, who works alongside John as the Director of Operations. He enjoys spending time with his family, grandchildren, great grandchildren and his German Shepard, Max—as well as working in his garden and on various projects.
Like the oaks his ancestors once lived by, John has grown and succeeded on his own terms and in his own time. True, wholesome, stable, and noble.