LAGERS Retirees Helping to Keep the American Dream Alive

LAGERS Retirees, Linda and Wayne Hartley
Retiree Resource: Fall 2023

Each year, LAGERS retirees living in Missouri receive more than $422 million in benefit payments, which were earned by serving their communities throughout their careers in public service. These benefit payments not only mean financial security for LAGERS retirees but also create economic impact within Missouri’s communities. As part of our ongoing “LAGERS Loves Local” series, we sat down with retirees Linda and Wayne Hartley at one of their favorite local spots, The Royal Biscuit, to hear more about how they are supporting their local economy in retirement.

Owning a local business is the epitome of the American dream. But when Linda and Wayne Hartley met while working at the City of Independence more than 25 years ago, they could have never imagined how important their LAGERS retirement would be to supporting the dreams of others in their community.

Linda and Wayne both spent decades-long careers in public safety for the city of Independence. Linda spent her 38-year career working as a 911-dispatcher, while Wayne held various roles with the Independence Police Department, including as a police officer and volunteer Chaplin. For anyone listening to Linda and Wayne talk about their careers, it quickly becomes apparent they share a servant’s heart. “It was not always easy,” they share, “but I know we made a difference in people’s lives.”

But for Linda and Wayne, working for the city ended up being more than just a professional calling. After being no more than acquaintances at work for some time, they were set up on a date. Linda chuckled as she reminisces, “we actually got to talking and never made it to dinner that night. I guess it was just meant to be.”

Now in retirement, Linda and Wayne credit their happiness to their similar interests. “We’ve always enjoyed the same things,” Wayne adds. Whether they are crafting or riding motorcycles, Linda and Wayne are always making the most of their retirement together, including hitting one of their favorite breakfast spots, the Royal Biscuit.

As we chatted and perused the vast menu, owners Jose and Cinthia Barrios bustled over to our table to say hello. They greeted the Hartleys with warm hugs, akin to a family’s greeting at a holiday get-together. At the Royal Biscuit, Linda and Wayne are much more than just patrons, they are a part of the restaurant’s very fabric. “It’s like a big family here,” Cinthia adds, “we just love Linda and Wayne!” Cinthia’s beaming smile and warm demeanor quickly made me feel like I too was just a part of the family. And as Cinthia and Jose visited with us, their passion for customers was on full display.

But when COVID hit, Jose didn’t know if his dream would last.“It hit small business owners really hard, it was tough. We wouldn’t be here today without people like Linda and Wayne,” he adds. “Our customers are helping keep my dream alive,” Jose beams. “I started in the restaurant industry as a busboy and worked my way up until I was able to own my own restaurant. It really is a dream come true.”

About that time Linda points out the coffee mugs customers were happily sipping out of. “We designed these,” Linda shared. “It was meant to be a gift to Jose and Cinthia one Christmas, and they liked them so much, now they use them in the restaurant. It is hard not to appreciate the many ways Linda and Wayne have impacted the Royal Biscuit family.

As Jose and Cinthia’s son, David, made sure our coffees stayed topped off, and as our piping hot breakfast was delivered, we gladly tucked in to enjoy all the Royal Biscuit has to offer. With hundreds of five-star online reviews about their great breakfast and the friendliest atmosphere in town, the Royal Biscuit in Blue Springs, Missouri, is certainly worth a try.