Long-time city of Port Allen employee Johnny Hicks retired for the third time last week. Hicks has served as a meter reader in the city of Port Allen since 1999.
“It’s been a good, good adventure reading meters,” Hicks told the City Council with a chuckle. “I could write a book about the things we’ve done and had to go through, but I really enjoyed it… I was proud to wear the uniform on day one, and I was proud to wear it until Friday, which was my last day, and I’m still proud. I’m proud to have been in the service of the city of Port Allen.”
Hicks earned the title “Outstanding Employee of the Year” in 2017, an award that could have been given for any one of his 18 years of service, Chief Administrative Officer of Port Allen Adrian Genre said.
Hicks’ meter reading partner Terry Coye is also one of his good friends. The pair worked outdoors year-round, no matter the weather conditions. Despite harsh conditions or being the bearer of bad news, Hicks always had a kind word to say to residents, even as he was cutting their services off, Genre said.
“The job of a meter reader is very time sensitive and simply cannot wait on good weather days or when it may be simply convenient to getting around to doing the job,” Genre said. “Johnny displayed an incredible work ethic that this job demands and never complained about anything. He simply showed up day in and day out and did the job.”
The entire Hicks family have been and will continue to be, an asset to the city, Council Member Ray Helen Lawrence said.
“Johnny has this quality of gentleness and kindness that endears you to him within moments of knowing him,” Former Port Allen Mayor Roger Bergeron said.
Hicks’ morning visits to everyone’s offices for a quick “hello” along with fresh vegetables from his garden will be missed, employees of the city agreed.
Hicks has earned his new status as self-employed gardener enjoying six Saturdays and one Sunday, Genre said.