Cary named Distinguished Employee|[08/19/2008]

Published 12:00 am Tuesday, August 19, 2008

Retired engineer joins gallery of honored workers as part of Founders’ Day activities

Retired electrical design engineer Garland L. Cary was honored by the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers Vicksburg District Monday with induction into the Gallery of Distinguished Employees.

The induction was part of the fourth Founders’ Day ceremony held by the Corps to remember those who have worked over the years in support of its civil waterworks mission. Longtime employees of the District also received length of service awards.

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The event was attended by about 150 people including current District employees, retirees and family members. Retired Brig. Gen. Robert Crear, former Vicksburg District commander and Mississippi Valley Division commander, was the guest speaker.

Emphasizing both the public service and personal nature of the Corps’ mission, Crear said, “The Corps of Engineers is not an inanimate object. Our most important asset is our people.”

Crear spoke of his years commanding the Vicksburg District as “the most satisfying” of his career. “We were helping the community, but also having fun.” He was roundly applauded when he called Vicksburg “the best District in the U.S. Army Corps of Engineers.”

Crear also said he hoped current Corps workers would support the effort to complete a mural along the riverfront park depicting the importance of the Corps to the city, remarking that $16,500 must be raised to get it done.

Eight retired Corps workers also spoke, telling of experiences working at the Vicksburg District over the years, from computer programming to painting to financial management.

Cary began in the Vicksburg District in 1964 as an electrical design engineer. After two years in the U.S. Army he returned to Vicksburg, where he oversaw many projects during his career, covering all aspects of electrical design. In leadership roles he served as chief of the Electrical Unit, chief of the Mechanical and Electrical Section, and chief of the Architectural, Civil, Mechanical and Electrical Section. He retired in January 2002.

As his many accomplishments were read to the audience, Cary and his wife, Linda, stood on stage, holding hands, and then helped unveil a framed photograph, a replica of his formal photograph now hanging upstairs in the District’s Distinguished Employees Gallery. He accepted the photograph as well as a plaque commemorating the honor. Nine family members then joined him and his wife on stage.

In his acceptance remarks, Cary said he was “not a big talker,” and that he was most comfortable these days, since his retirement, singing praise songs as part of a gospel group. “I do thank everybody and I do feel it’s a real honor to be accepted,” Cary said, and then sang, a cappella, several verses from Luther Barnes’ “My Whole Life,” before offering another, final “thank you.”

He was given a standing ovation by those attending.

The Vicksburg District’s Gallery of Distinguished Employees was established in 1955 with an initial induction of seven members whose service went back to the late 1800s, said Frank Worley, chief of public affairs. It includes 74 members, with new inductions every two years. Honorees are chosen for their years of dedicated service, he said.

The Corps of Engineers is represented in three Vicksburg facilities. The Vicksburg District, housed on East Clay Street, is one of six districts reporting to the Mississippi Valley Division, with headquarters downtown. The largest entity is the Engineering Research and Design Center, of which Waterways Experiment Station is a part, located on Halls Ferry Road and performing research in support of the Army’s civilian and military projects.

Crear was the first Vicksburg native to command the Vicksburg District. After other assignments, he retired earlier this year as commander of the MVD and president of the Mississippi River Commission.

At a glanceLength of Service awards given at the Corps’ Vicksburg District Founders’ Day celebration:40 yearsAl CannadaPhil HaskinsLillian Standridge35 yearsMarvin CannonJean Tate30 yearsJulia BarrJanice BrownJim DarnellPaul EaglesCarolyn HarrisonBetty JamesClarence JonesBarbara KlineEdna Lee JacksonDavid LoftonEddie MillerJeff MontgomeryRonald PerkinsDonnie TooleNorma Jean WalkerLeah WheelessBilly Williams Jr.25 yearsLarry MarcyBaskin Perry Jr.Sam StacyWanda StevensDette VedrosMike TurnerAnne WoernerSteven Evans20 yearsBen CaldwellPat ChambersTim GrahamJackie GreerDale JunkinNeal LewisJeffery MaxeyCarol Ann MurphyJacqueline SmithRay Wilson Jr.Beverly Zeigler