After years with the Ronceverte Waste Water Department, Wilson Bland is officially retiring.
Chief Operator John Humphreys, while speaking with The West Virginia Daily News, thanked Bland for the time he put in with the department.
“He does deserve recognition for the efforts he put in down here,” said Humphreys. “He was a good employee and we’ll miss him. … He was loyal to a fault – he would not take a sick day unless you forced him to. He was at work every day. … It was hard to see him go, but I understood why [he] wanted to go. He earned it over the years. He put in the time, he earned it, and he deserves it. He’s just a heck of a guy.”
The city threw Bland a retirement party, posting a celebratory photo to Facebook on Wednesday, January 19. The celebratory cake reads “Officially Retired Wastewater Operator – Not My Problem Anymore!”
“We were privileged to have the best retirement dinner and two of the best cooks around provide lunch for us,” reads the post. “Barbara “Barb” Morgan fixed her homemade spaghetti and Colleen Walton made delicious Volcano Cakes, all homemade. John and Betty Humphreys made a retirement cake for Wilson. These ladies made our dinner one of the best we have had. Thank you Barb and Colleen!”
The post, written by City Administrator Pam Mentz, also thanks Bland for his time with the city, saying “councilmembers and all of your fellow employees thank you for giving it [100%] every day. We are going to miss you, but enjoy your retirement!”
According to Humphreys, Bland has been with the department for 10 years, working side-by-side with Humphreys for the last six.
“He spent most of his time in operations within the plant,” Humphreys said. “He didn’t really go out on line calls, unless I absolutely needed him [too]. He was pretty much my right hand guy down here, through the construction and everything. … [Any question], I could call him, and he would give me an answer. I live in Beckley, so I drive back and forth four days a week. Something would come up, and I would call him to come down to the plant, just to look at it. He’d run right down and take care of it, [on] weekends, late nights, whenever. It never mattered to him, as long as it was something that he could take care of.”
In 2018, Ronceverte celebrated the opening of a new wastewater treatment facility, designed to remove everything from phosphorus from the Greenrbier River to human waste out of the public lines. Humphreys noted the plant was under construction during the flood of 2016, causing big problems for the department.
“During the ‘16 flood, he and I were down here quite a bit,” Humphreys said. “He never left my side the whole time. He stayed til everything was done. We were just cleaning up the plant, [getting it] back online – we were in the middle of construction during ‘16, and we were still running the old plant while they were building the new plant. There couldn’t be any worse time for that [flood for the department].”
When asked what he would like the public to know about Bland, Humphreys explained “not only was he loyal here at work, but outside of work, he was the first to call you if something was wrong. He was the first to call to offer help outside of work. If something was wrong with your family, he would call and check. It wasn’t just work family he was worried about, but it was other people’s family outside of work, too. He was always concerned about everybody.”
Ronceverte Mayor Deena Pack wished Bland well as he moves into a new chapter.
“Mr. Bland has been a well-liked and respected member of our city family for several years,” said Pack. “While I hate to lose such a great employee, I wish him a wonderful and relaxing retirement.”
|Wilson Bland at his retirement party. Photo courtesy of the city of Ronceverte.|