THAYER -- A reception was held April 5 at the Thayer Street Shed for longtime city street superintendent Kenny Hedden.
This year Hedden has worked for the city's street department, for 40 years. He has served as street commissioner for the city for 17 years.
Hedden, 61, was born and raised in Thayer. He graduated from Thayer High School in 1963. He and his wife, Connie, will celebrate their 39th wedding anniversary this year. The Hedden's have two children, Allen and his wife Heather, who is a baseball coach at Liberty School. They have three children, Tyler, Devin and Mattie. Their daughter Susan is married to Tim Vanderpool and they have a daughter, Gracie. Susan works as a teachers aide. Connie has worked in the Thayer School District as a cook for 30 years.
Before going to work for the city street crew 40 years ago, Hedden worked for Carpenter's Garage in Thayer.
"I worked as a mechanic and ran a wrecker," he said. Hedden said even after he was hired by the city he would work at Carpenter's after he got off work for a couple of hours in the evenings and on the weekends.
"I worked for 20 years with the same four guys. They were Darrell Phipps, Lawrence Combs, George Taylor, and Gary Kirby who is now deceased. We were very close. They were good people to work with and we became good friends," he said. Hedden joked that he had worked with Phipps (who also recently celebrated his 40th anniversary working for the city) for so long he felt like he was married to him. "He has been my good buddy," he said.
Hedden said if he could name the biggest change in his job over the last 40 years it would be the people in the city. "I use to be able to drive down the streets in town and I knew everyone by name. If I was called to a job I went there by the people's name," he said.
Hedden said it is not like that anymore.
"I don't hardly know anyone. Now we go on a job by addresses because we don't know who most people are or where they live."
He said besides Wal-Mart and McDonald's Thayer has not grown much.
The street superintendent said Ted Sullivan was mayor when he started and thus far he has seen nine mayors come and go.
Former Thayer Alderman Buddy Rogers has been Hedden's boss off and on for 35 years. Hedden said he has been a good alderman to work for.
He said he would like to continue working for another four or five years. "If my health holds up, I would like to work until I'm 65 or 66," he said.
Hedden said in all he has enjoyed his job with the city. He said he has enjoys living in a small community and raising his children here. "I've not become rich but I have made a living," he said.
Hedden said when he is not working he enjoys hunting and fishing, mostly deer hunting.