New York's all-news station, NY1, did a feature story about Machinist Frank Gurrera, the proud World War II vet who is still at his workbench at 90 with no plans to retire. Here is a transcript of the report. You can watch it here.
The subway system is a mere two decades older than a 90-year-old Metropolitan Transportation Authority employee who keeps the system running. NY1's Jose Martinez has the story of a true golden-aged go-getter.
When Frank Gurrera began working for the Transit Authority, a subway ride cost just 30 cents. That was in March 1970, and Gurrera is still on the job as a machinist—at 90 years young. "Whatever breaks down or whatever must be modified is what I do," says Frank Gurrera. The transit system's sprawling Coney Island Yard is where the World War II Navy vet makes and modifies parts for old subway cars and work trains, parts that in many cases are no longer made commercially. "They'll hand me something, and they'll say, 'Make a new one.' They'll hand you a pretzel and say 'Make a straight rod out of it,'" says Gurrera.
Gurrera joined the transit system 45 years ago after working as a machinist in the aerospace industry, making parts for missiles and gyroscopes for the moonshot program. "Companies moved out, laid off. I had no place else to go and looked around for other machinists job and I found this one," he says. Born in Brooklyn, he's lived in the same house his whole life. He wife died two years ago, and he has no children. But his co-workers are his family. He shows up at 9 a.m. five days a week—leaving them in awe. "Some people have like a hobby. His hobby is coming to the job. And, actually, he likes the machinery and he likes doing what he's doing," says MTA Transit Supervisor Yefim Shpaner.
"A lot of times you hear the younger guys complaining, for whatever it is. And you look at Frank, very rarely do you hear a complaint out of him. He's there setting an example, doing his job," says Tom Carrano of Transport Workers Union Local 100. Gurrera says he wouldn't have it any other way, and credits a lifetime of clean living for keeping him in working order.
"I don't smoke, I don't drink, I don't do any drugs. I just work around the house, do what has to be done and whatever has to be done here," says Gurrera. Going to work, he says, just never gets old. Even though his T shirt says "Retiree in Training," Gurrera says he has no plans to step away from a job he loves.