City of Aiken workforce applauded at annual holiday luncheon
The City of Aiken honored its employees Friday during an awards luncheon hosted at the H. Odell Weeks Activities Center.
Hundreds of city employees filled the gym that afternoon and were eager to grab a plate – or two, plus a to-go box – of barbecue. Sweet tea flowed, and there were hugs, laughs and cheers to be had.
The annual event, this one themed “Holiday Hope,” recognizes the city’s workforce and pays homage to its longest-running workers and soon-to-be retirees.
More than a dozen city employees were, after lunch, thanked for their five years of service. Eight employees were thanked for 10 years. Five were credited for 15 years of work, and another six were honored for 20 years.
A total of five people were recognized for 25, 30 and 35 years of city service.
Eight employees, some who had worked more than 30 years for the city, celebrated their retirements during the luncheon.
Mayor Rick Osbon said Aiken as a whole couldn’t be what it is – the South’s No. 1 small town, per Southern Living magazine – without its exemplary staff.
“Public service is not just a job, it’s a purpose,” Osbon said to the crowd. The mayor has previously described the holiday luncheon as one of his “favorite events all year.”
Members of City Council were quick to heap praise on the city’s workers.
City Council member Gail Diggs said she was proud to represent a place so full of wonderful people.
“You continue to make us look good,” Diggs said, smiling.
“Y’all are what makes it happen,” City Council member Ed Girardeau said after recounting a handful of times city employees had helped him out.
Though City Council member Lessie Price could not make it, the mayor relayed her message of appreciation and respect.