As I was coming over here, I was hearing about a guy named Willie. Now, in case you haven’t heard of him, they actually call him ‘Pretty Willie.’ Now, I got to say you got to be pretty tough to have a nickname like “Pretty Willie.” He’s tough.

On Wednesday, Willie will celebrate 60 years working at Detroit Diesel—60 years. Willie started back on December 12, 1952. I was not born yet. Wasn’t even close to being born. He made $1.40 an hour. The only time he spent away from this plant was when he was serving our country in the Korean War. So three generations of Willie’s family have passed through Detroit Diesel. One of his daughters works here with him right now—is that right? There she is.

In all his years, Willie has been late to work only once. It was back in 1977. It’s been so long he can’t remember why he was late—but we’re willing to give him a pass.

So Willie believes in hard work. You don’t keep a job for 60 years if you don’t work hard. Sooner or later, someone is going to fire you if you don’t work hard. He takes pride in being part of something bigger than himself. He’s committed to family; he’s committed to community; he’s committed to country. That’s how Willie lives his life. That’s how all of you live your lives.

And that makes me hopeful about the future, because you’re out there fighting every day for a better future for your family and your country. And when you do that, that means you’re creating value all across this economy. You’re inspiring people. You’re being a good example for your kids. That’s what makes America great. That’s what we have to stay focused on.

President Obama yesterday at the Daimler Detroit Diesel Facility in Redford, Michigan