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City employees Anthony, Trowbridge recognized for decades of service

 

Anthony Ruiz

City clerk Geri Anthony and Jim Trowbridge, utilities operator with water department, were recognized by the utilities section of the League of Nebraska Municipalities this month with an award commemorating their decades of service with the City of Sidney. Anthony has been with the city for nearly 50 years, and Trowbridge for 45 years.

Two long-time City of Sidney employees were recognized by the utilities section of the League of Nebraska Municipalities this month with an award certificate commemorating their decades of service with the city.

City clerk Geri Anthony has been a part of Sidney's city government for nearly half a century, starting out as a part-time employee in the summer of 1966.

"I think I started in July of '66," Anthony said. "Something like that."

Anthony was born in Alliance to a family of farmers. After graduating high school, she came to Sidney to attend the business school that had recently opened in town.

"It was called the Sidney Business Institute," she said.

Anthony attended the school for about a year when she was encouraged to pursue a part-time opportunity with the City of Sidney as the secretary to then-City Manager George Felsch. After a couple of months, Anthony made the transition to full-time.

"And I never left," she said. "One thing led to another, and the years just flew by."

Anthony said she met her husband, Lorin, in Sidney, who later opened Anthony's Body Shop.

"And that kind of put the cement in the ground," she said. "I had a job, and he opened his shop, and that pretty much made us stick around."

In 1981, Anthony moved to the city clerk position with the City of Sidney where she has remained for the past 35 years. She also handles treasurer duties for the city.

"That's tough," she said about acting as city treasurer. "Keeping the money in place and the bills paid. That's the busiest part of my job, but deep down I really like sitting at my desk and crunching the numbers."

Anthony has also acted as interim city manager on a couple of occasions, for two months in 1990 and again from Aug. 2015 to March 2016.

"I would not have that full-time for anything," she said. "There was a lot of stress in keeping that job and my job going, and not having to be responsible for everybody is such a relief.

"I knew that everything I did, the decisions I made, affected everybody. That's a heavy load."

Jim Trowbridge joined the City of Sidney in September of 1970, just two years removed from his time as a sailor in the United States Navy.

"I was in the Navy for four years," Trowbridge said. "From '64 to '68. I was on a ship in the Philippines, and Vietnam ships would come over to us for repairs."

Originally from Sidney, Trowbridge returned to his hometown after his military service.

"I was looking for jobs here and there," he said. "Something in construction."

Trowbridge said he heard about an opening for "summer help" with the City of Sidney and decided to take a chance.

"They needed somebody to mow lawns and stuff like that," he said. "But I did harder work than mowing lawns, such as putting in a water main on Verde Lane. That's how I got started."

Since installing that water main, Trowbridge has remained with the city's water department as an utilities operator for 45 years and counting.

"I dig ditches and lay water lines," he said. "I enjoy working outside and all the people I've worked with."

Both Anthony and Trowbridge were amazed when they considered how long they have been employed with the City of Sidney.

"You look back at it, and it doesn't seem like it's been that many years ago," Anthony said.

"It really doesn't," Trowbridge said. "When somebody asks me how long I've been here and I tell them, it just floors them. They think I'm lying."

Anthony said while she had been in the same position for so long, there has been a lot of change in that time, especially with the dozen city managers she has served under.

"Things change, and you go through the process of readjusting yourself to new things," she said. "Maybe that's why it went so fast. It's been a ride."

Now at the 50-year mark with the city, and one year away from her 70th birthday, Anthony is considering her retirement options but has not made a decision.

"I always said that I would retire when my husband retired, but he told me he wasn't," she said. "So I'm just going to have to decide for myself. If I feel good, I'll stay. If I don't, you know."

Anthony said she has worked for so many years, it is hard to fathom not working. Trowbridge, who will be 70 years old in October, agreed with that sentiment.

"I can't picture myself getting up in the morning and doing nothing," he said.

"Exactly," Anthony said. "Even on the weekends, I find myself thinking, 'You've been a lazy couch potato. How can you stand that?'

"But there will come a time when it'll just feel right."

Trowbridge said his coworkers have become like family to him, and he has enjoyed working with the City of Sidney.

"I've worked my butt off a lot of years in the hot sun and the cold, but I enjoyed coming to work and I still do," he said. "I don't work as hard now, but I've got a lot of experience."

Anthony echoed Trowbridge's thoughts.

"It's been a good experience," she said. "And I just want to leave a good legacy."

 

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