BY MELANIE BUCK –
Longtime Mena Street Department Superintendent Roy Harris is preparing to retire after working for the City of Mena and Polk County for 44 years.
Harris first went to work for the county when he was 20 years old. He has lived in Mena his entire life and still lives on the same place he was born. “Well, I wasn’t exactly born there, I was born in the Old Hospital, but it’s where they brought me home to,” said Harris. “I haven’t ever wanted to live anywhere else.”
During his 24 years with the county, Harris learned how to build roads, bridges, and more. Bud Stevenson was the County Judge back then. Harris said, “He was a good guy and great to work for. The ‘old hands’ took me under their wings and taught me and showed me how to do things.” Harris’ father was a construction worker his whole life and he admitted to learning a lot from him growing up.
After leaving the county, Harris went to work for the City of Mena and has spent 20 years there. He started at the bottom and worked his way up to superintendent. “I didn’t want it, and still don’t,” Harris said jokingly. But, he took the job and has done well at it. “I have worked through cleanups after tornadoes, ice storms, and floods. It’s been quite a ride.”
One of his favorite aspects of working for the city and county is that he was able to be with his family. “I got to stay home and make my living, be with my kids and grandkids, and to me, that’s a lot better than going off and making big money. Polk County and Mena have been good to me. It’s been good to me all my life.”
As for his future plans, “I’m going to fish, hunt, do what I want, and spend time with my grandkids,” he smiled.
Harris will officially retire on March 30, 2017. The City is planning a retirement reception for Harris on that day with the time to be announced. Everyone is welcome to attend and thank Harris for his service.