Thank you very much

City hosts 34th annual Appreciation, Safety Awards Dinner

By Kevin Spradlin 
PeeDeePost.com

ROCKINGHAM — For a moment, it must have felt to Monty Crump as if he were handing out pink slips.

The longtime city manager called one name first. Then another. But in a must-be-present-to-win environment, it was the third name drawn — Bobby Ingram — that took home the grand prize to conclude the city of Rockingham’s 34th annual Employees’ Appreciation and Safety Awards Dinner inside the George Browder Park gymnasium.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Bobby Ingram, right, collects the top cash award of the evening from (left to right) City Manager Monty Crump, Mayor Steve Morris and Councilwoman Denise Sullivan.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Bobby Ingram, right, collects the top cash award of the evening from (left to right) City Manager Monty Crump, Mayor Steve Morris and Councilwoman Denise Sullivan.

Between 180 and 200 city staff and elected officials, along with family members and invited guests, attended the 80-minute gala. The event featured live entertainment from singer Charity Davis, guitarist Chuck Smith and the duo from A New Creation, saxophonist Dennis Hardison and pianist/vocalist Curtis Muldrow.

Ingram was the top cash award winner from 18 door prizes, including a total of $1,000 cash. In addition, two family memberships to Discovery Place KIDS in Rockingham were given away.

At first, it seemed as if the fix was in. The first four $25 awards were won by members of the Rockingham Police Department. This always happens, said Crump, appearing somewhat uncomfortable before pressing on.

There was no fix, of course, and the primary purpose of the evening was untarnished in that Crump, Mayor Steve Morris and city leaders were able express sincere gratitude to the city’s 131 employees for a job well done. In a message mirrored with that given in May during the city’s annual budget retreat to Hinson Lake, Crump said there are number of benefits to having so many employees with so much city experience.

Seventeen employees have 15-plus years of experience in Rockingham, Crump said. Another 10 have 20 or more years and 17 — 13 percent — have 25 or more years. Fully 50 percent of the city’s workforce have at least 10 years working with the city of Rockingham. Miriam Haire, of the Department of Public Works, leads them all with more than 38 years.

“I don’t know what Public Works would even do without you,” Crump said.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Det. Steve Odom enjoys the live music of A New Creation with his 15-month-old son, Nolan.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Det. Steve Odom enjoys the live music of A New Creation with his 15-month-old son, Nolan.

The experience, and the knowledge that comes with it, helps the city maintain a forward-thinking course with a sound financial picture. In short, it benefits every single resident.

“We certainly appreciate that you know your jobs,” Crump said. “You do it year in and year out.”

Morris, serving his first elected term as the chief elected official in Rockingham, called it “a pleasure and a privilege” to be part of such a group that accomplishes the job each day with “safety, efficiency (and) without complaint.”

Morris said he’s sometimes asked if he ever dreamed of being mayor of Rockingham while growing up.

“My Momma didn’t even dream of this,” he quipped, “and she always wanted the very best.”

Longevity – 25 or more years

Carole Frye joined the club of 25-plus years of experience with the city of Rockingham. Along with Miriam Haire, there are 15 others with such longevity, including: Hazel Tew, Richard Haugen, Ken Everett, David Mullis, David Lamonds, Tina Harvey, Larry Cobler, Bobby Caulder, Dave Davis, Tommy Campbell, Monty Crump, Larry Harrelson, Vernon McKinnon, Wayne Covington and Ira Tillman.

 Retirees

As it does each year, the city recognizes employees who have joined the ranks of the retired since the previous December dinner. There were three on this year’s list: Charles “Chuck” Gardner left the Rockingham Fire Department on Aug. 20; Michael Meginnis retired July 22, also from the fire department; and Donald Bean, who retired Aug. 20 from the W&S Maintenance Division.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Saxophonist Dennis Hardison works his way through the crowd during a performance of A New Creation.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Saxophonist Dennis Hardison works his way through the crowd during a performance of A New Creation.

Those who have passed

Crump led the group in a moment of silence to remember those former city employees who died within the past 12 months. That included Harry D. Gary, who had worked with the city’s streets division and died on Jan. 26; and Nell Byrd, who died on Feb. 9 after working with the finance department in utility billing. In addition, the city recognized Rick Singletary. Singletary was never a city employee but for many years ran the public address system during the annual appreciation dinners. He died on Oct. 31.

New hires

As the city inevitably loses staff, Crump and department heads must replace them. There were 14 full-time new hires selected to join the city’s workforce in 2014. That includes:

* Jonathan Taylor in Building and Grounds;

* Christopher Dunn, David Goodson, Eric Culbreth (rehire), Devonta Saunders, Jan Owens and Tammy Morton, all with the Rockingham Police Department;

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com Charity Davis and Chuck Smith performed live on stage, much to the delight of the nearly 200 people in attendance.

Kevin Spradlin | PeeDeePost.com
Charity Davis and Chuck Smith performed live on stage, much to the delight of the nearly 200 people in attendance.

* Joshua Haley, Philip McBride and Keith Kottwitz, each of whom was promoted to full-time firefighters from volunteer positions. In addition, Harold Isler Jr. was appointed as Gardner’s success as fire chief. Isler’s hire was announced in May and he arrived from Goldsboro in time to ease the transition, with a few weeks’ overlap before Gardner left the department;

* Winfred Pence Jr., in the Streets Department; and

* Donald Robinson and William Brand, in the W&S Maintenance Division.

In addition, the city selected six new volunteer, or part-paid, firemen, including: Steadman Hodges, Randy Stubbs Jr., Andrew Estridge (rehire), Kyle Paul, Keith McPhaul (rehire) and Richard O’Neal (rehire).

 

 

 

 

 

Filed in: Featured News, Latest Headlines, News, Rockingham

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