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|Franklin Parish older worker of year named|
An 83-year-old Winnsboro man was named the Franklin Parish older worker of the year recently and received a plaque.
But it wasn't that simple.
Involved were deception, surprise, a long drive and a gold watch for masonry worker Charlie Murphy.
Even when Buddy Strickland nominated Murphy for the annual award, presented through the Council on Aging, he was tight lipped. He was still tight lipped when he told Charlie that the two of them would take a ride on the day of the award presentation.
That was the deception.
The surprise came in waves once Charlie was in the Council on Aging Center on Adams Street a week ago. First, Charlie learned why his employer had deceived him—so the award would be a surprise. Then, there were two sons, a daughter and four grandchildren who were waltzed in to congratulate an unsuspecting man, honored in part for his strong work ethic.
That was the surprise.
The daughter and her family had the long drive part of the award. They drove from Chicago to see Charile get his honor, the Legacy of Achievement Award. And, they would hop back in the car for the long ride back to Chicago the next day.
All that really surprised me," said Charlie. "I didn't know what to say or do."
Strickland, who employs six other masonry workers, also struggled for words following the ceremony. "I can't say enough good about this man," he said
Then came the plaque and gold watch, the plaque with blessings from the Governor's office and the watch from Buddy Strickland and his wife Cindy.
Charlie has been with Strickland's company since the day the company started, although the two of them had worked together earlier at another masonry company.
In fact, Charlie has spent most of his working life in the construction field, only the last 20 with Strickland. He worked for a few years at a paper mill in West Monroe, but returned to Franklin Parish and held laborer position with several different local construction companies.
When asked to reflect on a 60-plus year career in construction, jails came to Charile's mind.
"We built eight jails around here," Charlie said, "and I'll tell you one thing. You may walk out the door in those jails but you won't go through the walls. They're built."
This is the 20th year a Legacy of Achievement award has been given through the Governor's Office of Elderly Affairs. The program is designed to honor the most outstanding older worker in each parish.
But, maybe Strickland had the final word when it comes to honoring a life's work: "I just hope, if I get to be his age, I can do what he does."