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Retirees honored for service to city

Washington Parks and Recreation Department personnel (front row, from left) Carrie Blount, Sam Crawford, (back row, from left) Bobby Andrews and Phil Mobley will be retiring in the near future. (WDN Photo/Mike Voss)

With more than 160 years on the job collectively, four employees of Washington’s Parks and Recreation Department will be retiring in the coming days.

Those soon-to-be retirees were honored at a luncheon Wednesday.

Among them is Carrie Blount, who’s been a part-time city employee for 68 years.

“Miss Carrie has been very faithful to us, very faithful to who we are and very faithful in her religion. She brings that to the office with her, and we really appreciate that. We know we’ve got someone who is a pillar here, who we can depend on, whether it’s the job, whether it’s spiritual or whatever it might be, and we all call on her. Because of that, we are very indebted to her. We thank God for allowing her to be in our lives. That’s the bottom line there,” said Phil Mobley, the city’s parks and recreation director, who retires later this month after 37 years with the city.

“I just thank the Lord for being here at my age,” Blount said.

Blount recalled being rotated among several of the city’s facilities — the former Bug House, where teen dances used to be held, and former Bridge Street Recreation Center among them. Eventually, she settled at Bridge Street Recreation Center.

Bobby Andrews, who retired several years back as a full-time employee, is preparing to retire from his part-time position. Andrews, the department’s athletics director, has 31 years in with the city. Those years include 24 as a full-time employee and seven as a part-time employee.

“I’ll say there’s nobody ate up with athletics than Bobby Andrews,” Mobley said. “If you want to talk athletics, bring you up a chair and he’ll talk with you, or for you or at you.”

“This job means a lot to me. I’ve been through some hard times in my life. God left me here to help with children … and that’s what I continue to do. … Miss Carrie, thanks for being there for me when I went through all of these hard times,” Andrews said.

Mobley also cited Sam Crawford’s 27-year tenure with the city.

“Sam Crawford starting working for us on a part-time basis in 1985,” Mobley said. “Sam has been good to me from the standpoint I could call him and say, ‘Sam, I forgot to do this or I forgot to do that.’ Sam would go take care of it because Sam’s got a key to every building in town, whether it’s public — every public building, I know, I believe. I could depend on Sam.”

Crawford is the department’s assistant athletics director.

Crawford discussed his relationships with Andrews and Blount.

“Just like he (Andrews) said, he could tell me to do anything and I would do it. Starting at Seventh Street (Recreation Center, now named the Bobby Andrews Recreation Center), I would go over there and do things. He would never say anything to me. He knew the job would be done. I’m very proud of that.”

Crawford continued: “Miss Carrie, you’ve been like a mom to me. I love you. I’m never going to forget you. You’re always going to be there when I need you.”

Mobley weighed in on upcoming retirements, including his.

“We’ve all had a good time, we’ve had a good run. … We know that this is not the end of any of us. We’re not going anywhere other than we’re not here. We’re will still intermingle and interact with what’s going on, with athletics or centers or personnel or whatever. So, those things are not going to change,” he said.

Mobley will be honored at a reception at the Washington Civic Center on Wednesday.

About Mike Voss

Mike Voss is the contributing editor at the Washington Daily News. He has a daughter and four grandchildren. Except for nearly six years he worked at the Free Lance-Star in Fredericksburg, Va., in the early to mid-1990s, he has been at the Daily News since April 1986.
Journalism awards:
• Pulitzer Prize for Meritorious Public Service, 1990.
• Society of Professional Journalists: Sigma Delta Chi Award, Bronze Medallion.
• Associated Press Managing Editors’ Public Service Award.
• Investigative Reporters & Editors’ Award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Public Service Award, 1989.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Investigative Reporting, 1990.
All those were for the articles he and Betty Gray wrote about the city’s contaminated water system in 1989-1990.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Investigative Reporting, 1991.
• North Carolina Press Association, Third Place, General News Reporting, 2005.
• North Carolina Press Association, Second Place, Lighter Columns, 2006.
Recently learned he will receive another award.
• North Carolina Press Association, First Place, Lighter Columns, 2010.
4. Lectured at or served on seminar panels at journalism schools at UNC-Chapel Hill, University of Maryland, Columbia University, Mary Washington University and Francis Marion University.

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