Friends mark Sheldon Morgan's 40 years of service to Gilford

  • Published in Local News

GILFORD — Town officials and fellow employees sprung a surprise on Sheldon Morgan yesterday when, unbeknown to the director of Public Works, they threw a party, complete with speeches, proclamations, music and food, to mark his four decades in the employ of the town.

Escorted by Town Administrator Scott Dunn, an unsuspecting Morgan arrived at the Fire Station to find flags flying, music blaring and charcoal smoking as family, friends and coworkers prepared to celebrate a long ...

GILFORD — Town officials and fellow employees sprung a surprise on Sheldon Morgan yesterday when, unbeknown to the director of Public Works, they threw a party, complete with speeches, proclamations, music and food, to mark his four decades in the employ of the town.

Escorted by Town Administrator Scott Dunn, an unsuspecting Morgan arrived at the Fire Station to find flags flying, music blaring and charcoal smoking as family, friends and coworkers prepared to celebrate a long serving and much beloved public servant.

Following the national anthem, Selectmen John O'Brien presented Morgan with a certificate of achievement and plaque commemorating the first 40 years of his career. Remarking that a "plethora" of words capture Morgan's character and contributions, O'Brien chose "integrity, knowledge and service."

After Jane Ellis performed the song she has written to mark the bicentennial of the town, Finance Director Geoff Ruggles invited those with a story to tell to the podium.

"The funny ones I don't think I can talk about," said Dave Andrade, the Code Enforcement Officer, who then picked the word "relic" to describe Morgan.  A relic, he noted, is something that has survived, with "historic interest because of its  age and associations," and, with a nod to Morgan's wife Judy and daughter Heather, "serves as a keepsake or souvenir."

Witnessing Morgan's profound interest in keeping the town's history alive, the three Cemetery Trustees — Susan Leach, Judith Cott and Dee Chitty — congratulated the man they called "our steward."

While others lauded Morgan for the breadth and depth of his knowledge of the town, Firefighter Scott Mooney reminded him of the time Morgan got lost walking the boundary with Gilmanton.

Sandy McGonagle, who served three terms on the Selectboard, called Morgan "a good friend to our town."

His wife Judy, who joined the Department of Public Works just months after he did, read a proclamation commending  Morgan for his years of dedicated service from Governor John Lynch.

"You don't think about the time," Morgan said. "You think about interacting with the public. It's the men and women who have come and gone who really make the difference." With no immediate plans to retire, Morgan said "it's been a helluva ride and I don't plan to get off just yet."