PITTSBURG — Financial Advisor Joe Hart was interviewed by the Northwestern Mutual when he was a senior in college in 1959, and he went to work with them right after that.
Sixty years later, he’s still with the company, so far, according to Hart, has no plans to retire any time soon.

“Sixty years doing what he loves to do, helping people and the amount of people he has helped over his career,” Russ Jenkins, financial advisor from Emporia said. “He’s helped over 3,000 people implement plans that total over $321 million worth of protection for Pittsburg, Kansas.”

Jenkins came down from his office in Emporia, not only to celebrate because the two are friends, but also on behalf of the president of the company, he said. He presented Hart with a certificate for his achievement of working 60 years in the company.

A hand full of others, who all “go way back” with Hart, had an informal lunch on Wednesday at Applebee’s. It was actually a surprise, Hart thought he was just having lunch with Jenkins.
“Today was just a group of people at a short invitation list, decided to drop everything they were doing come to Pittsburg, have lunch with Joe, and say thanks,” Jenkins said.

The group came from their agencies from across Kansas and despite their distance are “good friends.”  Each person from the party had a story about Hart.

For example, during football season a certain someone — Hart — wrote “Russ Jenkins Supports PittState football” on Jenkins’ business door, which is conveniently located in downtown Emporia. On the following Monday after the game weekend, Jenkins asked Hart if he knew how many cars pass his business.
“I told him I really have no interest in traffic in downtown Emporia,” Hart joked.

Banter aside, they all came to visit Hart that day because they “appreciate” what he has done for the company over the years, his character and how he has given back to the community, they said unanimously.

Hart said he was shocked that the group came down to visit and he thanked them for coming such a long way.
“It made my day,” he said. “These people, I’ve known them forever, we’ve become good friends.”

“We had to surprise him or he wouldn’t have came,” Jenkins added to the conversation.

Hart said he’s been “very fortunate” to be in the business for so many years.
“You know what the neat thing is, I’ve enjoyed it,” Hart said. “I appreciate it very much, they are dear friends, its neat over the years to get the opportunity to get the know these guys.
“I love them all.”

“We love him too,” several of his friends chimed in.
“I would say that all of us would agree that one of the great things about Joe Hart is high quality and high character, and he knows how to have fun,” Don Doherty, of Fort Scott, said.