It was on March 12, 1969 that Brenda Walker spent her first day working at Carroll Farmers Co-op. Fifty years to the day, her service to the company was celebrated with fanfare, congratulations and food.
“Fifty years at Carroll Farmers Co-op have been good for me,” she said. “This is my life.”
After graduating from Huntingdon High School in 1968, she was attending the Vo-Tech School at McKenzie when Co-op manager H.L. Liles called the school and inquired about needing an employee.
She applied and the rest is history.
“Mr. Liles was truly a nice and honest boss,” she said. Sue Smith was the office manager at the time.
“Sue was my backbone and to this day I have the greatest respect for her,” she said. “I was hired to replace Nancy Crossett, who is a good friend.”
As office manager, she does a multitude of duties such as payroll, write checks, answers the phone, waits on customers, and bookkeeping.
She has seen many people come and go over the years. She and Ronnie Foster have the distinction of being 50-year employees.
“I have always done my best to help each and everyone of them,” she said.
The atmosphere at the business has always been one of helpfulness, cordiality, friendliness and in general, a happy place to work.
“The employees work hard, but always have a good time, until sometimes, a hard look has to stop the fun,” she laughed.
Over the years she has been through about five different bookkeeping systems.
At one time all the sales, whether cash or credit, were kept up with through hand written tickets, but now are put into the computer.
The hours have only changed slightly over the years. When she started the hours were 7 a.m. to 5 p.m., six days a week, but are now 7:30 a.m. to 5 p.m. and until noon on Saturday.
She interacts with farmers quite a bit.
“I love people and I love talking to them,” she said. “Farmers are some of the best people in the world.”
Springtime is a busy, busy season for the business. That’s when the fertilizer, seed, chemical and tire shop business really booms, she says.
“We have a lot of walk-in customers and do a lot of sales over the counter,” she said.
During the luncheon, she was honored with a plaque from the company manager David Drewry which reads: Carroll County Cooperative presented to Brenda Walker in appreciation for 50 years of dedicated service and excellent performance, March 12, 1969 – March 12, 2019. She compliments Drewry as being a wonderful manager who is highly respected by the farmers he serves.
Several family members were present that included daughter, Tina Davis; and siblings, Jane Campbell, Harold Baker, Patty Davis and Gail Turner.
She received several gifts that included a couple of bracelets, a rocking chair, gift cards and a gag gift of a hula hoop because she used to be a pro at hula hooping.
Customers wandered in and out of the room where the luncheon was held to offer their good wishes and congratulations to her.
She says she’s not ready for retirement yet and will work on.
“I’m just not ready for retirement,” she said. “I have a lot of people say, ‘Don’t do it.’”
“Everybody tells me that I will know when it’s time.”