By Mary Elizabeth Dial
On May 10, 1976, Sue Woodard became the bookkeeper for the Etowah County Commission.
On June 29, 2016, she celebrated her retirement from the same institution. Forty years have passed, during which time Woodard filled four different positions within the county commission, including chief clerk. She became financial controller in October of 2004 and held the title for almost 12 years.
Woodard, a Gadsden native, attended a party in her honor at the Etowah County Courthouse on Wednesday with her friends, family and coworkers. Guests enjoyed refreshments, including a cake emblazoned with Woodard’s name, while they laughed and reminisced together. All six current county commission members were present at the party, as well as county employees from multiple departments. Commissioner Tim Choate (District 6) presented an official proclamation to mark the occasion.
“Sue Woodard is hereby commended on over 40 years of service to the Etowah County Commission and the citizens of Etowah County,” Choate read from the document. Speaking for his colleagues, Choate stated, “the commission will miss the professionalism and friendship Sue Woodard has contributed.”
Etowah County Chief Financial Officer Kevin Dollar cited Woodard’s loyalty and compassion as the qualities that made her so successful in her multiple positions. This loyalty, he said, extended beyond individual members of the commission to the county and its citizens. Her presence helped smooth the transitions that came with the 35 commissioners with whom she worked throughout her four decades at the county commission.
Addressing the attendees of the party, Woodard spoke of fond memories and hard work.
“You have to have a lot of humility here, you have to have a lot of patience,” she said, referring to the varied nature of her work and the many departments with which she collaborated. She finished her speech, however, by saying, “There’s so many friends here that I love… I love every one of you.”
Woodard loved her job and the Etowah County Commission, but she is still looking forward to her retirement.
“I want to spend more time with my family,” she answered when asked about her plans. “I hope I get to travel some.”
Woodard’s three children and four grandchildren, who were in attendance at the party, will no doubt enjoy some of her newfound free time.