From Millsboro to ‘roving’ retirement adventure in Central America


MILLSBORO — Thursday, Sept. 7 was Bill Sauer’s last day of employment with the town of Millsboro.

On Sept. 12, he flew off to Central America to begin a roving retirement adventure with wife Deborah and their beloved family felines.

“We’re kind of trying to be roving retirees. We can only rove so much as the leash on the cats will go. We do have four (cats) but we have shipped them down to Costa Rica and that is our first kind of destination,” said Mr. Sauer.

Bill Sauer, left, receives parting mementos and best wishes in retirement from Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood on behalf of the town.

For 10-plus years the Southern California native has worked for Millsboro. He was hired as finance officer and about a year ago assumed the assistant town manager position when Sheldon Hudson was promoted to town manager with Faye Lingo’s retirement.

“Bill has done a nice job helping the town stay financially stable and healthy,” said Mr. Hudson. “One of the big assets I see in bill, he really from a technology perspective got town into the 21st century. Apparently when he came on-board over 10 years ago a lot of the processes were done manually. He created a lot of different spreadsheets, and tools that have allowed the town to function more efficiently.”

“When I came to the town it really made it nice for me because a lot of that legwork was done, not to mention he was a great trainer. He has provided a lot of the training to the new town clerk, Joanne Dorey. He has been a real asset in that regard,” said Mr. Hudson. “He is very patient. He is a very good teacher; he explains things well. He’s just an all-around nice guy; positive attitude and upbeat. He has been a great right-hand man to me even though we have only worked together for a couple years, plus or minus. I have really enjoyed my time working with him.”

Town government recognized Mr. Sauer at his last scheduled town council meeting Sept. 5.

“It has been a pleasure working with you. We want to thank you so much for your service to the people of Millsboro,” said Millsboro Mayor John Thoroughgood. “On behalf of the town council we hope you have the most enjoyable retirement. You deserve it. You’ve been a blessing to this town.”

“It has been a pleasure,” said Mr. Sauer. “I will rock in my new rocking chair.”

Mr. Sauer, 61, was born in Southern California. His family moved east to Virginia during his sophomore year of high school. He attended James Madison University in Harrisonburg, VA.

His wife’s folks still live in the Millsboro area. Their two children are Holly, 32, and Paul, 28.

“So, 28 and 32 with no grandchildren we said there wasn’t anything really, really holding us back, so we were going to go and travel while we could,” Mr. Sauer said.

This week’s People to Meet, Bill Sauer.

Employment prior to Millsboro?

“For 20 years preceding that I was vice president finance/IT with International Auto Parts in Virginia, in Charlottesville.”

What brought you to Sussex County?

“My wife, her parents have been Eastern Shore people all of their lives. We had moved up here 11 years ago to be close to them. They were saying ‘it is time you go and enjoy while you can, and we believe them.”

So Central America adventure is in your retirement plans?

“We want to ‘rove’ a lot. We want to be; I think the term is called roving retirees. The first years of retirement are the ‘go go’ years. Then you have the ‘flow go’ and then you have the ‘no go.’ So, we wanted to be able to participate in the ‘go go’ and be roving retirees, meaning we’ve sold our possessions. We are living from suit cases. And every three to six months, the idea is to move to another area of the country and explore.”

“The first places of course will be the different regions of Costa Rica. And now we are investigating what it takes to drive the cats across to Panama, Nicaragua, and up into Guatemala and Mexico. We intend to hit all of the countries. We don’t know yet what the restrictions are when you are driving the cats. Hopefully, you just put them in the backseat and drive them across the border.”

Getting your cats to Costa Rica was a major challenge?

“My wife has been down there so I could ship cats to her, because we moved four cats to Costa Rica and is not an easy task. It’s not an easy task at all. They have to have international certification. They have to have papers stamped by USDA. You have to arrange for pet brokers at the customs office. It was quite a nightmare to ship cats. It was a logistics nightmare to ship four cats.”

We presume your cats are beloved family members?

“Yes, they are. They are!”

Back to Millsboro: Care to share your employment tenure with the town of Millsboro:

“I was hired as the new position finance officer. This was when the building boom had just started. Right before my hire that is when Plantation Lakes came in … numerous housing developments just came in wanting to build. The annexations were happening. The building boom was happening. And they said, ‘We need somebody.’ So, they hired me as the finance officer. Basically, I am pretty decent with computers and was able to take data out of their system and just make things a little bit easier as far as tracking building permits, assessments changes, tax logs and the like. It was just a lot of fun growing with the town and putting in controls that help with that growth on the finance side of course. I have enjoyed working with the town so much. It has been a fun journey.”

“Now, we just want to get out when we can and enjoy. The town has certainly helped with that – the state retirement program they’ve got. We have sold our primary residence. We have a house we can come and visit and stay. We own a couple houses in Millsboro so if we ever want to come back …”

Your leisure passions?

“To the wife’s dismay, I ride dirt motorcycles. I do a lot of dirt riding. My son actually races in Virginia. They’ve got a lot of good dirt in Costa Rica. They’ve got a lot of trails down there.”

“We both have scuba-dived in past lives. It has been many years for both of us. But we’re looking forward to getting out and trying the snorkeling and re-visit the scuba-diving.”

“I am not a fisherman but I love to eat fish. Costa Rica is known for fishing so I might have to learn how to catch my own. I do like boating so that’s a plus. The Pacific is just beautiful. The water is clear and warm. I’ve seen dolphins; I haven’t seen sharks.

Sounds like you’re the adventurous type?

“The wife encourages some it. In recent trips down there, she has had me jump of a 2,000-foot cliff para-gliding. She had me jump off quite a large waterfall. She had me jump off a 150-foot bridge. And then we come to zip-lining. They have mile-plus lines that run across valleys. You’re like a bird up there looking down, it’s almost like you are in a plane you are so high up.”

Closing thoughts?

“It was obvious from their goodbyes, I was just overwhelmed with generosity and friendliness of the people. And they are ensuring that we come back, they are giving us a beautiful three-day, two-night stay at Hyatt Regency in Chesapeake. Definitely, we will be back for this.”

News Editor Glenn Rolfe can be reached at

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