Reaching 40 Years Together


In Cut Off, Louisiana, a pair of Walmart associates are celebrating a big milestone alongside their store. 

Reaching your 40th year as an associate deserves a celebration. But imagine celebrating your 40th year along with your store’s 40th year! Now, that deserves a BIG celebration. And that’s just what the folks at Walmart Store 502 in Cut Off, Louisiana, have planned!

Store 502 associates pointing at Jody and Rachel, 40 year associates.

Rachel Bergeron and Jody Cheramie are the associates at the center of the party. They’ve been at the store since it opened 40 years ago.

These two have been there through tough times — like the 2010 oil spill and the many hurricanes that have challenged the Gulf Coast and its fishing and oil industries — as well as through good times — like when the store transitioned from a Division I store to a Supercenter.

A shared appreciation for a challenge

Jody started his job the day after he graduated from high school, before the store had officially opened. “They were setting it up when I walked in the front doors,” he says. “All they had was towels on the floor. We all helped set up the whole thing.”

Jody Cheramie smiling

Today, Jody (pictured above) is an AP Ops team associate, but he’s been in stocking and receiving. He’s also spent time as a support manager, zone manager and department manager.

He recalls his days in receiving, saying, “In the Division 1 store, everything was cramped and tight, and we were just trying to make it all fit as it came off the truck. It was a challenge! And I kind of liked the challenge.”

“Just stick with it,” is his advice to new hires. He says he enjoys the work that he does and the people he works with.

Rachel was hired just two weeks after Jody. She started as the department manager for furniture, but later moved into Department 82 and keying in orders. When UPC orders were introduced in 1986, Rachel jumped at the chance to work with the new technology.

“I liked the challenge and I liked learning about the computers and technology of Walmart,” she explains. “So I said yes and I stayed in UPC for 25 years.”

Rachel Bergeron smiling

When UPCs were phased out, Rachel (pictured above) moved to the invoice office and then shifted into claims. That’s where she has been for the last seven years.

“I still love the paperwork and the computers,” she says. “That's where my heart is.”

Rachel credits her long tenure to setting goals. As she grew in her career, she’d set targets for herself and work toward them.

She laughs as she remembers a morning when one of her fellow associates heard knocking at the front door of the store. Since the store wasn’t open yet, the associate told the fellow outside that she couldn’t open the door until 9 a.m.

“And he's like, ‘I know, I know.’ She stays there for a while with him until he says, ‘Do you realize who I am?’ And she says, ‘No.’ And then when he told her he was Sam Walton, she felt so sorry!

“He thanked her so much for doing her job. That was an amazing time. He spent a couple of hours with us. And I still have that picture of him — kneeling down with the group of people that were there that day.”

Doing what they love

When she isn’t busy setting and crushing all her goals at work, Rachel loves traveling to visit her son in Colorado. (Both her son and her daughter worked at Walmart for their first jobs.)

During his time off, Jody enjoys visiting Disney World with his wife and two sons. They often join other family members and attend the park as a large group.

Even after 40 years, Jody and Rachel say they’re hoping to keep working for Walmart — they might even make 50 years. “Just set yourself goals and just take one day at a time,” Rachel shares. “Just do what you can do and do your best.”