ROCKINGHAM — As Labor Day weekend begins, Terry Richardson’s career with Richmond County comes to an end.
The county held a retirement celebration for Richardson on Friday, acknowledging his 30 years in the water maintenance department.
“Terry’s definitely been a great asset to the county water system,” said Public Works Director Bryan Land. “He’s been one of our most dedicated employees. He will truly be missed.”
Richardson was hired by then-County Manager Jesse Yergan in 1984.
He started off as an equipment operator, driving backhoes and front-end loaders. About a year and a half later, Richardson moved up to foreman and succeeded Bruce Trailor as superintendent in 1992.
Over the years, Richardson has worked to repair water mains, fix leaks and maintain water tanks and meters, something he said was a “24/7 job.”
County Manger Rick Sago concurred.
“Few people realize what it takes to be the water maintenance supervisor, but it is a 24/7, 365-day-a-year job,” he said. “In the worst possible conditions, Terry was always right there with his men — day or night — when it came to handling a problem with (the) water system.”
Richardson recalled having to lower water levels in a pond in Trailwood to keep a dam from blowing out.
“We’ve had spill tubes and tanks to blow out where we had to re-route systems,” he said. “It’s been an experience, it’s been a challenge. I wouldn’t take the world for it.
While everyone was thanking Richardson for his years with the county, he had some acknowledgements of his own.
“Special thanks to Rick and Bryan for their courtesy, understanding and knowledge I gained through them over the years,” he said.
Richardson offered his appreciation to local contractors and vendors that he’s dealt with over the years, and also thanked other departments — including municipal engineering — the Board of Commissioners, the people of Richmond County and the sheriff’s office.
He said deputies have been called to assist when residents wouldn’t let water department officials read their meters, when animals were involved or when there were break-ins at pump stations.
“He is the Sandra Bullock of county government,” said Marian Savage, clerk to the county commissioners. “He’s Mr. Congeniality.”
Prior to working for the county, Richardson worked as a security guard and was self-employed, putting in pools and setting up fences.
The Richmond County native said he is starting his fencing business, TR Enterprise, back up.
“I would like to congratulate Terry for reaching a milestone in his life,” Sago said. “I have worked with Terry since I came to work with Richmond County in 1997 and he has been an excellent employee and public servant… and I thank him for all of his years of hard work and dedication and we will miss him.”
Reach reporter William R. Toler at 910-817-2675.