FORT WAYNE, Ind. (WANE) – This past year the city of Fort Wayne celebrated career milestones of employees. One employee in particular spend nearly half a century with the Water Pollution Control Maintenance Division.
“The lady that hired me, she goes, “You know a lot of guys retire from that place.” And I go, “I just need a job. I’m not going to retire.” And here I am 45 years later. I guess I will retire after all,” said Gary Merriman.
May 21st, 1975 Gary Merriman started his career with the city of Fort Wayne. Gary worked with the Water Pollution Control Maintenance team, or the sewer division.
“Figuring out different ways how we’re going to do it, what kind of machinery it’s going to take and which crew is going to do it,” explained Gary about what he did.
Gary watched Fort Wayne sewers go from clay to new, modern technology. He also played a part in getting MamaJo in the ground, the city’s tunnel boring machine.
“The tunnel will add a lot of capacity for storage. And it keeps it out of the rivers, too. The older part of the city was built, you know when they first put the sewers in, there wasn’t a treatment plant. So everything went to the river.”
Gary also made numerous house visits when sewers became backed up. It’s there that he got to know the people he’s serving, often times off the clock.
“You make a connection with the homeowner a lot of times. And so a lot of times it was going back to just make sure they didn’t flooded or something. Or they understood what was going on.”
While those connections meant a lot, it’s Gary’s co-workers that have left a lasting memory.
“I’ve been through cancer twice. And these people put together a golf outing fundraiser for me. And did all sorts of things. They’re always here to help. And that’s the thing about this department. We try to help each other out as much as possible. And if somebody gives us some trouble, they spend a day or two in a manhole and everything is cool.”
Gary’s sense of humor being one thing they enjoyed about him.
Gary retired earlier this year. Recognizing his decades of service, Mayor Tom Henry declared October 2nd, 2020 as Gary Merriman Day.
Other employees recognized by the city:
Sharon Parks, Neighborhood Code
Johnnie Robinson Jr., Water Pollution Control Maintenance
William Bragg, Water Maintenance
William Corn, Police
Peggy Gaskill, Police Civilians
Joan Guevara, Customer Support
Melanie Hickman, Police Civilians
James Murua, Fire
Karl Niblick, Police
Susan Ulrich, Police
Kevin Zelt, Police
Christine Camp, Police Civilians
Vernon Criswell, Police
Calvin DuBose, Police
Alan Garriott, Police
Michele Gerke, Water Filtration Plant
Matthew Gray, Street Project Management
Jeffery Grundy, Street Department
Victoria Jahn, Water Filtration Plant
Howard Johnson, Police
Bryan Keister, Parks and Recreation Department
Matthew Kocks, Fire
Russell McCurdy, Fire
Thomas Ransom, Parks and Recreation Department
Miguel Rosales, Fire
Christopher Schubert, Police
Timothy Selvia, Police
Gary Wattenbarger, Water Maintenance
Mark Wentz, Police
Wesley Wiederkehr, Fire
Lisa Williams, Police