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City employees recognized at breakfast

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By Chris Sardelli

More than 100 Lancaster city employees dined at the annual employee appreciation breakfast last week.

It took over 450 eggs and 220 biscuits to feed the crowd that gathered at the First Baptist Church’s Family Life Center.

The group included City Council members, public works employees and employees of both the police and fire departments.

City Administrator Helen Sowell welcomed everyone to the celebration and thanked them for their service.

“We’ve been on a ride together for the last year and a half and I’ve enjoyed every minute of it,” Sowell said. “Thank you for all the hard work you do. Not one of you is more important than the other.”

Councilman John Howard was surprised at the number of employees who had served the city for five or more years. In total, the city’s employees have logged 1,212 years of combined service.

“I have the distinct honor and pleasure of knowing the people who comprise that service,” Howard said.

Sowell, along with Mayor Joe Shaw and Councilmen Howard, Audrey Curry and Bill Sumner, handed out longevity checks to employees in several categories, from five years to more than 25 years of service. The checks are calculated based on how many years they have worked.

“Complaints are down to a minimum. Our dedicated employees are doing a good job,” Shaw said. “This is a small token of appreciation that we like to show with a good breakfast. You all make us look good.”

Nine employees were recognized for 25 or more years of work, including Sowell and Police Chief Hugh White.

“These are the patriarchs as far as I’m concerned,” Sumner said.

Parsons named Employee of Year

Employees of each month from the past year were also recognized.

Pat Parsons of the police department was honored as the city’s Employee of the Year.

He was singled out for his work in both the Lancaster County Courthouse arson and downtown robberies cases.

“Even though I’m being recognized for this, a lot of people helped on this,” Parsons said. “It goes a lot deeper – it’s our whole division.”

At the close of the ceremony, outgoing councilmen Curry and Sumner were given a chance to speak to the audience. Councilman Danny O’Brien, who is also leaving council in January, was not able to attend.

“This is supposed to be an appreciation party for employees, so I’m going to do that,” Curry said. “I want to thank you for all you’ve done over the last 17 years. You really made this city shine.”

Sumner echoed his sentiments, thanking his fellow city employees.

“It’s been a great pleasure working for over 36 years,” Sumner said. “This is my home. I love it. I love the city.”

Howard, who led the crowd in a closing prayer, was overcome with emotion as he said goodbye to Curry and Sumner.

“In some ways, I feel like I’m losing my right arm,” Howard said. “I’m going to miss you guys more than you can imagine, but I know you’re just a phone call away.”

Contact reporter Chris Sardelli  at csardelli@thelancasternews.com or at (803) 416-8416