35 years of service honoured

Engineering Services Manager Brian Dennison comically recalled the year 1978 on Wednesday evening much to the delight of those in attendance at the regular meeting of the board.

From the availably of Star Wars family pajama sets at local stores for just $6 to $12 to the popularity of Happy Days on TV, there was a lot of cheesy goodness in that second-to-last year before the 1980s began.

But pop culture wasn’t the point of the evening’s walk down memory lane.

"This evening in particular, we want to recognize that in November of that year a spry young fellow named Thomas Turner joined the CVRD," Dennison said.

Turner was being recognized for his 35 years of service to the regional district.

"I guess this is as close to a roast as I’ll get," Turner said, as Dennison outlined his various duties over the years.

He began doing odd jobs, maintenance and janitorial work for $5.70 an hour back in the day and has since moved up the ranks to become the Cowichan arena’s ice maker.

"Guys like this are hard to find, that are willing to work hard and do good for the community," Dennison said. Turner was gracious. "It’s been an honour and a privilege to work here. I’ve met more managers than I know what to do with," he laughed, "but I have met some really great people."

The CVRD is in Turner’s blood.

His father Murray Turner was Cobble Hill’s area director from 1972-1975. "He was a good mentor,"

Turner noted. The younger Turner outlined his own time at the regional district in a few big chunks. "When I started with the CVRD I was pretty young and thought, you know, this is a good place to get your feet wet, you’ll stay a couple years and you’ll use this experience and move on. About five years went by and I thought I’d get another couple years of experience and thought I’d move on. Ten years went by and I thought, well, I’ve been here a while and I kind of like it but you know it’s not too late to get your feet wet somewhere else," he said. "I just want to tell you that after 35 years I’ve decided that I think I’m going to stay."

The board learned from Dennison and board chair Rob Hutchins that Turner considered retirement in 2012 but decided to stay on board so that he could help finance the construction of a new home and, more importantly for the admitted foodie, his dream kitchen.

In recognition of his service on behalf of the board, Hutchins presented the long-time employee with a gift certificate to a local kitchenware store in the hopes he could further outfit his kitchen without having to go to the bank.

Turner received a standing ovation from the board.