It was a busy weekend: Harbor Cup was raced at Los Angeles YC with Cal Maritime’s Keelhaulers taking top honors, with Long Beach’s Ryan Schack on mast and Hailey Thompson on pit.
The St. Francis YC stop of the California Dreamin' Series saw Nicole Breault scoring 100% wins in the double round robin, and High School sailors were in Santa Barbara at the Groucho regatta with Long Beach’s Sato Academy taking third in the silver fleet.
In many regattas, there are the behind-the-scenes club members who volunteer and are sometimes acknowledged. But rarely do we mention the club staff that has everything ready for us at the club after a long day on the water.
Long Beach YC’s Head Busboy Eleno Torres is one of those people. He is retiring this month after 47 years of service to the club. For long term members, his retirement leaves a great big gap in all our lives and hearts.
Retired Club Manager Luis Izurieta said, “Eleno was the first employee I hired. I remember very well his first day — Thursday, Dec. 14, 1972. He was a very young fellow, slim and extremely shy. However, he showed immediately his style, lots of energy, let's get the task done, don’t waste any time. His commitment and dedication was very evident. We faced many challenges together. He will be remembered as one of the great employees LBYC has enjoyed. He will be missed.”
LBYC Commodore Charlie Legeman said, “Eleno has been a great employee. I’ve been a member 41 years, so he was at the club about five or six years before me as a member. But I do remember when my Dad was a member seeing Eleno there as a young man.”
“Eleno was always very attentive to the members. He has taken good care of them and sometimes some unusual things would happen, he would always have a slight smile and a twinkle in his eyes. He was always a great guy, very helpful to the members, caring for them. He will be missed.”
There is an unattributed quote about working for a club: “If you are a working at a major hotel or restaurant and the customer is not happy, the customer leaves. If you are working at a private club and the member-customer is not happy, you leave.”
Eleno has consistently exceeded expectations and said he would have stayed working longer if it had not been for some eyesight concerns.
How did he become Head Busboy? According to Izurieta, “In 1987, as I was transitioning to another assignment there was a little shuffling in the LBYC team. Sal Gutierrez, another great employee, then Head Busboy, became the Maintenance Supervisor, ’the MacGyver' of the club, and Eleno was appointed to the Head Busboy position with significant responsibilities, which he carried so well for so many years.”
Eleno's family has been a big contributor to the success of the club's operation as well.
His wife, Catalina, maintained the beautiful, pleated linens that enhance the head tables of the many club celebrations, she also designed some clever “aftermarket mods” to Eleno’s uniform, adding a pocket for his glasses. She even made the large trash cans on the pool deck and on the docks at the club more elegant by stitching burgees on fabric and creating customized covers.
Izurieta chimed in, “And of course we all are very well acquainted with his children who work(ed) at the Ccub: Maria ’Lupita,' Carlos, Adrian, David. All of them well accomplished in the outside world because of the solid family values instilled in them.”
In addition, Eleno’s brother Jose worked at the club more than 35 years.
Personally, I will miss seeing Eleno coming in each morning, before his shift, with the day’s catering orders in hand as he exited his car. As he walked in, he would review how each room should be set up for the day ahead.
Eleno has no detailed retirement plans, but says he does hope to spend some time visiting his sister in Mexico. When asked what he will miss the most when retiring, he said, “The members.”
Thank you, Eleno Torres for 47 years and three months of valued service to Long Beach Yacht Club.