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City honors employees for keeping the water on

Mayor Barbara Volk honors Andrew Jones and Jonathan Owen for keeping the water on and recognized second quarter MVPs Brad Duncan, Dwayne Jones and (not shown) Austin Jones and Tim Laughter of the water department and Larry Reeves of public works. Mayor Barbara Volk honors Andrew Jones and Jonathan Owen for keeping the water on and recognized second quarter MVPs Brad Duncan, Dwayne Jones and (not shown) Austin Jones and Tim Laughter of the water department and Larry Reeves of public works.

The Hendersonville City Council on Thursday honored the unsung heroes who make sure that water comes out of the faucet and the toilet flushes even as floods and power outages threaten the system.

Mayor Barbara Volk and the council thanked Andrew Jones and Jonathan Owen for keeping the water and sewer system running night and day seven days a week. 

Those recognized are "part of a larger group of unsung heroes," City Manager John Connet said. "They do a great job and most of us don't realize what they do because we continually have water and sewer and we don't even know" what the crews do. "During the recent storm, when we were all inside safe and warm and dry, these gentlemen and their crews kept the pump station going, were out in the roads putting up barricades" and taking other precautions "to protect our infrastructure. They do a lot of things we don't see to keep our system running at a very high level."

The recognition was on the City Council agenda last month, Connet said, "but it was raining and they were in Mud Creek trying to keep a manhole from going under water."

Also honored Thursday night as second quarter MVPs were supervisor Dwayne Jones and Austin Jones, Brad Duncan and Tim Laughter of the water and sewer department. A public works crew called on the water department's pump crew to help fix a broken pump that had closed Patton Park pool. Because of their quick action, the pool was shut down for less than 24 hours and summer aquatics for kids and adults resumed.

"We talk a lot about breaking down silos and this is a great example of how they serve their community," Connet said.

Other second quarter MVPs were:

  • Kourtney Looper, a third-shift water treatment plant employee, and Brandon Roberts, a construction inspection engineer, who made a presentation on behalf of the Wellness Committee on the city's new insurance requirements. "When the Committee members were asked, Kourtney and Brandon volunteered and did a marvelous job," Connet said.
  • Larry Reeves, a public works employee who saved the day (and night) when the lights went out on baseball. "On the first night of the new 16U Henderson County Baseball Summer League, with seven teams representing all four high schools as well as homeschoolers, the lights at Berkeley Park mysteriously went out five minutes after being turned on," Mayor pro tem Jerry Smith said. "The teams kept playing but it was clear that it was going to get too dark to play before the game ended. Larry was contacted and went into action and contacted Duke Energy.  He left his home and came to Berkeley.  He waited 20 minutes for the Duke repairmen to arrive.   This was around 8:15.  He then stayed with the repairmen as they corrected the problem, got the lights back on and allowed the game to continue.  Furthermore, Larry worked with Duke Energy to come back another day to figure out what the problem was. Larry was instrumental in helping this new league get off to a good start."