Best of the best
The city of Hinesville’s employees of the year are:
• Vernetha Ekeyi
• Donita Gaulden
• LaQrissua Bolton
• Christopher Moss
• Linda Smith
• Richard Long
• Carolyn Canga
• Terranova Smith
• Tony Durham
The city of Hinesville on Wednesday honored its employees of the year, new employees and retirees. Awards also were distributed to workers who had logged between five and 35 years of service with the city.
The luncheon and recognition ceremony, which was set up under a pavilion behind the Hinesville Police Department, was a variation of the annual evening banquet the city usually puts on to honor its employees.
“We didn’t have the funds to do what we normally do,” Hinesville Mayor Jim Thomas explained to the crowd as he opened the program. “We usually have a banquet and have everyone there, but we’ll do it next year.”
Thomas lavished praise on the city, its residents and the people who keep the wheels in motion.
“It’s a great day to be in Hinesville. It’s a great day to be a Hinesvillian,” he said.
“We were recognized as the fifth-best-performing small metropolitan area in the U.S.” in a study by the Milken Institute, an independent economic think tank.
After Thomas’ welcome, city officials and department heads took turns recognizing their top employees, welcoming newcomers, bidding retirees farewell and thanking those who met service milestones.
“It’s always an honor to be recognized by your superior and your peers as an employee of the year,” City Manager Billy Edwards said.
Edwards presented an award to city hall employee of the year Vernetha Ekeyi, who works in the information-technology department.
“I enjoy working at the city because of the collaborative efforts my coworkers put forth to make this city a place to call home,” Ekeyi said.
Many city workers were honored for putting in five, 10, 15, 20, 25 and 30 years of service, but only two employees hit the 35-year mark, Assistant Hinesville Police Chief Julian Hodges and Chief of Detectives Maj. Thomas Cribbs.
Before attendees sat for lunch, the mayor again thanked the crowd for coming and congratulated those who were recognized.
“I want to say again to the awardees today thanks from the city council and myself for the work you do every day for the citizens of Hinesville,” Thomas said.