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Mobley leaves admirable legacy

Phil Mobley, Washington’s parks and recreation director, retires later this month after 37 and a half years with the city.

That’s legacy enough — almost. During that time, Mobley has set in place a family atmosphere within the department. That was evident earlier this week when Mobley, Carrie Blount, Sam Crawford and Bobby Andrews were honored at an interdepartmental luncheon to recognize their contributions and upcoming retirements.

Each talked about how they felt about the others, how they often relied upon each other in bad times, how they enjoyed the good times together.

Mobley, an Air Force veteran and proud graduate of North Carolina State University, welcomed and encouraged that family atmosphere. Not only did he welcome and encourage it, he relished in it.

It’s a good bet Mobley is as proud, if not more proud, of that accomplishment than he is of such accomplishments as Festival Park, renovation of the waterfront, construction of the McConnell sports complex, the city docks and more. And he should be proud of all of them.

What about that family atmosphere?

Perhaps Andrews, who’s got 31 years with the city (24 of them as a full-time employee and seven years as a part-time employee), provides a look at it.

“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,”
Mobley added: “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.”

Mobley expounded on the familial relationship within the department.

“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 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,” Mobley said at the luncheon.

If music is played at next week’s reception to send Mobley toward retirement, the one song that should be played is “We Are Family.”