By Thomas Sellers Jr.
As Ritter Communication Millington human resource representative Beth Hearn listened to now former colleagues express gratitude and best wishes. She tried hard to maintain her goal of no tears.
Hearn set at the head of the table with her husband Rick by her side and mother nearby. Also present where her daughters Lauren and Emily with their husbands and children to celebrate mom and grandmother for nearly 36 years of service on the job.
It was 35 years and 9 months ago, Beth arrived to the Millington Telephone Company after growing up in Shaw, Miss. Fast forward to this summer, the staff from Ritter Communications in Millington and Arkansas came together to bid Hearn a proper farewell for her retirement.
“It’s an exciting day,” Hearn said. “I’m looking forward to the next chapter of my life which is to spend time with the grand babies, catch up on some projects at home and maybe a little traveling.”
Before all the cards, gifts and sentiments, Hearn took a moment to reflect on her first days at the then Millington Telephone Company.
“I had just gotten out of college,” she recalled. “I’ve just gotten married that summer. I thought I would start working here and then find a career somewhere in Memphis.
“I ended up staying here the whole time because I loved the community I was working in,” Hearn continued, “ loved working for Mr. (Babe) Howard and the Howard family.”
Then the Howard family sold Millington Telephone to Ritter in 2012. Hearn was on the front line during the transitional period.
“It was challenging for all our employees because they didn’t know what really to expect,” she recalled. “Through it all Ritter was wonderful. They were great to all the employees. They had their best interest first. So that really helped the transition and made it easier for the employees here.”
Hearn was one of the vital people Arkansas communicated with to inform the Millington base. Meanwhile Hearn eased the concerns and anxieties of customers in Flag City and the surrounding areas.
With Rick teaching and coaching at Millington Central High School, Hearn was a common voice and face in Millington. She was the typical softball mom with a camera in hand to capture the best moments of Lauren and Emily as Lady Trojans.
Then when the girls went on to graduate from Christian Brothers and Delta State universities respectively, Hearn filled up her “free time” with the Millington Education Foundation and Millington Area Chamber of Commerce.
“Millington became my hometown many years ago,” she said. “Rick started his career here and we just love this community. We’re not planning to leave. We planted our roots here and decided to stay.”
Millington is now home for Beth. With much more to do in Flag City, Hearn said it will be tough leaving behind the people she saw everyday for so many years.
“I will miss the people, the relationships you develop with other employees,” she concluded. “We become like family because you spend a lot of time here. They’re your extended family. I will definitely miss those here in Millington and the ones in Arkansas. I developed a lot of relationships with them as well.”
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