SHARING GOOD MEMORIES: Doug Crawford, left, jokes with Carroll County Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson as Tomlinson gives him several goodbye cards and gifts at his retirement luncheon Friday at the Carroll County Courthouse. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
SHARING GOOD MEMORIES: Doug Crawford, left, jokes with Carroll County Judge Executive Harold “Shorty” Tomlinson as Tomlinson gives him several goodbye cards and gifts at his retirement luncheon Friday at the Carroll County Courthouse. (Staff photo by Ken Ritchie/kritchie@madisoncourier.com)
Carroll County native Doug Crawford had been job hunting for a while when he found work with the county roads department.

He planned to stay only a few years when first hired.

That was 28 years ago.

When Crawford first began working for the department in the mid-1980s, employee turnover was quite high with people leaving every couple of years. He never expected to retire from the department, he said, or serve 12 of those 28 years as the department's supervisor.

"That wasn't my ambition at the time," he said.

Instead, Crawford worked on whatever road maintenance was needed - from building new roads and bridges to fixing the gravel roads throughout the county.

Nearly half of the roads in the county were gravel when he began, Crawford said. It would take crews three months out of the year to add gravel and fix holes.

Today, only about two miles of county roadway are gravel. All of the other roads have been paved.

"Used to be we laid our own blacktop," he said.

Other changes and technology advancements over the years helped make road maintenance a little easier for the department.

Crawford remembers when it would take about 12 to 14 hours to apply cinders to the county roadways in winter. One person would drive the truck while another worker would shovel the cinders onto the road, he said.

Now hydraulic lifts and spray systems allow county workers to spread salt and cinders in about four hours.

"It's just amazing how far we've come," he said. "It has changed over the years immensely."

Crawford and crews also have repaired roads damaged from winter weather, landslides, floods and tornadoes - even a hurricane - during the last 28 years.

"I wish I'd had a camera with me," he said. "We've seen just about everything."

County officials honored Crawford and wished him well in retirement during a luncheon Friday.

Carroll County Judge-Executive Harold "Shorty" Tomlinson presented Crawford with a plaque distinguishing him as a Kentucky Colonel and with a citation from the House of Representatives honoring him for his years of service to the county.

The Carroll County Fiscal Court presented Crawford with a gift and card for his service, and the Carroll County Roads Department gave Crawford a pocket knife engraved with his name and dates of service to the department.

Crawford officially retired on March 1.

He might have had other plans back in the 1980s when he first began, but the last 28 years turned out better than he expected, he said.

"I don't think I could find a better group to work with," he said.

He plans to spend more time with his family and work on his farm in retirement. He also might have to spend a little time retraining himself not to find issues to fix on county roadways.

"It's been one of those personable jobs that you enjoy," he said. "All in all, it was a pleasant ride."