News-Sun photo by SAMANTHA GHOLAR Soon-to-be former Supervisor of Elections Joe Campbell introduces his granddaughter Chloe Goolsby to a colleague Friday afternoon during Campbell's retirement party at the County Government Center. Campbell spoke to numerous friends, workers and colleagues throughout the afternoon who all bid him farewell and a happy retirement.
click any photo to view this story's photo gallery
published: Sunday, January 06, 2013
Joe Campbell retires, celebrates 38 years of service
By SAMANTHA GHOLAR
SEBRING - Hugs and cake filled the lobby of the Highlands County Government Center Friday afternoon as friends, co-workers and family members bid farewell to one of the county's most well-known individuals Joe Campbell.
Campbell has been a Sebring resident since he was a year old. After attending and completing his graduation requirements through the Highlands County School District, Campbell did what most young men at the time did - began his long running career.
"I was brought up in a time where when you graduated, you went and got a job and you stick with it. If you worked hard and long enough, you could retire," Campbell said.
After working his first job with the county's Property Appraiser's Office for 11 years, Campbell moved on to the Supervisor of Elections Office in 1996 under the county's former supervisor, the late Jimmy Whitehouse.
There, Campbell found his calling and continued working in the position for nearly 30 years. Campbell is described as a hard working, good man by his many peers and employees. His presence in the office made the workplace better for everyone around him.
After decades of hard work, Campbell decided to hang up his hat and move on to the next chapter in his life's story. Though his retirement is well earned, Campbell is regretfully leaving behind many friends and co-workers, each of which have a smile on their face when describing their memories of Campbell.
"I enjoyed working with him. He's a good boss," said former Assistant Supervisor of Elections Norma Stokes.
Stokes worked alongside Campbell for 13 years, moving up in the ranks as a former poll worker before her own retirement as Campbell's assistant two years ago. Stokes describes her thoughts on Campbell during one of the most difficult elections of their career together.
"The worst election was 2000. We had to recount so many times, but the entire process with him was very good. He handled it like a professional; you do what you have to do and he always does," Stokes said.
Current County Property Appraiser Ed Sager began working with Campbell in 1975 and has kept a close friendship with Campbell even after his exit from the appraiser's office.
"It's a funny feeling, him leaving, after working with him for so long, but I'm happy for him," Sager said. "38 years is a long time and he deserves it, I hope he has a great retirement. He comes from a great family, a great person."
The retirement was something that Campbell put a great deal of thought into before he made his decision. Campbell spoke to close family members about his thoughts regarding retirement before making his final decision.
"He thought about it a long time. He finally decided that this was the right time to go ahead and do it," said Campbell's mother, Kathleen.
Campbell smiled proudly during the retirement party, visiting with her son's friends and colleagues.
"If he gets bored I've got some things for him to do around my home ... I'll keep him busy," she said with a smile.
Campbell's successor, recently elected Supervisor of Elections Penny Ogg, spoke nothing but kind words about her long-time boss during the party. Ogg has worked underneath Campbell for the past nine years. Learning the ins and outs of the position under the careful eye of Campbell, Ogg is ready to take on her former boss's job following the swearing-in ceremony Tuesday.
"Having this camaraderie already there in place is a great thing. Joe has been so good to us all. His legacy will carry on in this office and in this community," Ogg said.
As for Campbell himself, he plans on spending his retirement doing numerous things and just enjoying life.
"I'm looking forward to it. I knew that I didn't want to go another four years, I didn't want to do another election. I just plan to have fun," Campbell said. "I've got my grandkids. I'm going to be hunting and fishing and traveling."
When asked what he will miss most about his career, Campbell gave a sincere answer, an answer everyone expected to hear:
"I will miss my workers the most. I'll miss all the people in the Government Center."
Small Banner Ads