Tough economy pulls Tennessee retiree out of retirement

KNOXVILLE, Tenn. (WVLT) -- As the economy tightens, many people are cutting back to make ends meet, and some seniors are finding out they might need a little more money to stay retired -- leaving some with no choice but to re-enter the workforce.

9-11 sent his corporation down the tubes, so retirement came a little earlier than expected for one-time chairman of the board Charlie Schopmann.

These days, he's earning extra dollars to supplement that retirement, and this historically bottom-line guy who is cut from the "gotta make a profit" mold is now working non-profit.

Schopmann says, "The economy is good for the older person because, let's face it, we're cheaper."

But it wasn't easy getting back into the workforce, even for the former chairman of a corporation.

Schopmann says, "You know, I was on the Internet. I was filling out applications."

And he wasn't getting any return calls. Until..."she said, Charlie, talk to these people."

So, he contacted the Council on Aging.

Schopmann says, "What a pleasant experience, absolutely."

All of a sudden, Charlie's on the interview circuit.

Schopmann says, "I guess I had two or three interviews, but the one here with the Kidney Foundation was just magic."

He's now with the Kidney Cars Program.

Schopmann says, "I talk to people who are giving automobiles to us."

He says, "We're making dollars that are helping people. What a change! Truly!"

Charlie's a two-for-one, a welcome addition at a bargain basement price.

Charlie is an assistant to Cindy Lipps with the National Kidney Foundation which serves 34 East Tennessee counties. Lipps says, "Well, it's huge, because we operate on a limited budget. And we can't just go out and hire anybody and offer them a lot of money."

He brings people skills, dependability and a youthfulness only Charlie can describe.

Schopmann says, "Well, my mind has always been one of a 17-year old. And it still is."

Lipps says, "He's a real go-getter. We're blessed to have Charlie."

And just where would Charlie be without this job?

Schopmann says, "Looking for another job."

Now, if you are age 55 or older and are seeking part-time employment and full-time employment, the office on aging is sponsoring a job fair, Wednesday, May 28, at the Ross Building on Western Avenue.

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