After almost 29 with Corbin Public Works, Director Gary Kelly will soon be entering retirement.
Kelly started working for the city when he was 21 years old in December of 1992.
When his job at Pepsi Cola saw hour cuts, he applied for a position with Corbin Public Works which was hiring full time.
Kelly said when he started his career in public works, he never saw himself retiring from there, but now, 28 years and eight months later, he is set to begin his retirement.
“Gary was a valued member of the City of Corbin team for almost 29 years,” said Corbin Mayor Suzie Razmus. “His strong work ethic, dedication to and expertise of his job will be sorely missed. We wish Gary all the best on his retirement and expect to hear all about his new adventures!”
“I started out on a garbage truck and weed eating creek banks,” said Kelly. “I was always a hard worker.”
Kelly said he hired in as a laborer where he mostly worked as a replacement for people who called in sick on the garbage trucks.
“I started out at the bottom,” said Kelly. “I always had a real good work ethic thanks to my father. I’d been raised right.”
Kelly said that he moved up the ranks quickly in the department. He was promoted to foreman just seven years into his career.
“I could work with my crew and I was a working foreman,” said Kelly. “I spent the next ten years or so being a creek bank foreman.”
“I learned a lot of qualities with the city just from working,” said Kelly. “I was over the salt crews. I was always driving salt trucks through the winter because I was really experienced at that.”
About 15 years ago, Kelly was named the assistant public works director when Troy Foley retired. He said that during his five years in that position he pretty much ran public works. In 2010, the director stepped down which gave Kelly the opportunity to step into the director role in August.
“It is a big load over there,” said Kelly. “It doesn’t really benefit me to stay much longer without my money changing and they are not planning on giving raises this year, so I decided to go ahead and step on out.”
“I have worked my whole life,” said Kelly.
“I am probably going to jump on my motorcycle here for about the next year, and through my tent and my hammock and my sleeping bag and sleeping mats in there. I am going to take off,” said Kelly. “I don’t know where I will land.”
Kelly said that he doesn’t really have any plans for retirement as of yet, but he said that he will probably work after taking a break.
“It’s a big load and a lot of responsibility,” said Kelly. “I definitely need a little break.”
Despite having worked some big snows, Kelly said that one of the most memorable jobs he completed as supervisor was clearing main street after a 14-inch snow in 2016.
Kelly said the snow was up on the sidewalks, so the next morning, he lined all of his salt trucks up and together they pushed the snow to the right side of the road. The snow was eventually hauled to depot street later that day.
“I’ve got a really good crew,” said Kelly. “I’ve got some good men. They are qualified and good at what they do.”
Kelly said another example of his crews work ethic was after a storm, between his crews and the fire department they cleared 41 trees that had fallen in about an hour and a half.
“It was all good team work,” said Kelly.
“I am going to miss my crew,” said Kelly. “We are like family over there. I really will do that. I’ve got boys over there that are like brothers. I’ve got one boy that is like my son; I love him to death.”
“I’ll stop in and see them every once in a while, but I am not going to miss working,” said Kelly. “I am not going to miss all the responsibility and the city stuff. It’s a big load and I have carried it for about 15 years.”
Kelly’s last day with Corbin Public Works will officially be August 1.