After thirty-five years of dedicated service to St Johns County, Housing and Community Services director Tom Crawford recognized Wanda Brinson on the occasion of her retirement.
Crawford remembered his co-worker from her early days when she worked in Veterans Services, and joked that he will probably lose weight without Wanda around to bring him fresh baked deserts — “she’s a great cook,” Crawford said.
Brinson says she’s seen a lot of changes within the county — some good, some not so good.
She remarked at the podium that she’s worked for several different supervisors and commissioners, “they’d come and go, but I outlasted them all!” she quipped.
Her attitude about public service is probably how she managed to survive so long as a county employee. “When I took this job, I never had any intention of staying here thirty years,” Brinson said. “When I told my father that I didn’t make enough money and was going to get a better job, he told me just to hang in there, and I did.”
When Brinson came to work, the St Johns County Administration Building and St Johns County Courthouse shared a building in downtown St Augustine that is now the Casa Monica hotel. She said her commitment to support herself and her five-month old daughter, who had heart problems, gave her the strength to honor her father’s request.
Although it was sometimes difficult, Brinson said she didn’t complain about how much money she earned — even during the furloughs and suspended pay raises during the past few years. “Just keep on doing the best job you can and the money will work itself out.”
Wanda offered some advice to the new generation of county employees that she says she learned along the way. “Help where you can,” Brinson said. “Never ever feel like something is not your job”.
When dealing with the public, she said that if she doesn’t know the answer to someone’s question, she never would say, “I don’t know” then leave them standing. “Go get the answer and bring it back.”
As is customary, Crawford presented Brinson with an oak chair to honor her service at the county. After posing for pictures, Crawford and Joe Stephenson carried Wanda’s chair out to the car for her.
Photo credits: © 2012 Historic City News staff photographer