11/29/09 — After 60 years, worker is parking his truck

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After 60 years, worker is parking his truck

By Laura Collins
Published in News on November 29, 2009 1:50 AM

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Former owners of W.P. Rose Supply Co., Timmy Rhodes, left, Larry Jinnette, second to left, and Ralph Jinnette, far right, stand with Vic Blackmon, an employee who retired recently after working 60 years at the company.

It's hard slowing Vic Blackmon down, but after working for 60 years at W.P. Rose Supply Co., he is finally retiring.

Friends, family, former co-workers and owners spent time telling stories at his retirement lunch.

"I've seen people who work places 50 to 60 years. They're usually sweeping floors and going to the post office," said Larry Jinnette, a former owner of the company. "Vic probably drove 400 miles yesterday on a tractor trailer. He didn't fade out over 10 years sweeping floors. This man was more productive on his last day of work than his first day of work."

Timmy Rhodes owned the company from 2000 to 2006 during which Blackmon drove a sand truck, delivery truck and brick truck.

"He is a guy you could put in any role and he could handle it. He was very looked up to by any new employee," Rhodes said. "They tried to be as dedicated, but it's hard shoes to fill. He's one of the most dedicated, responsible employees that anyone could have. He's never out sick, always very devoted, first one there and last one to leave."

The day started early for Blackmon, who used to leave the house at 3 a.m. for work.

"When he first went to Sanford to pick up a load of bricks, when he got there he saw there's a line of trucks waiting to be loaded. He wanted to be the first in line, so he'd leave at 3 in the morning and sit in that line for two hours waiting to get his load," said Ralph Jinnette, Larry's father who bought the company in 1968.

He said he has been blessed with good employees, especially Blackmon.

"He's the most loyal employee I've ever had. He'd always do everything I asked him to do, he did it with a smile on his face and acted like he enjoyed what he was doing," he said. "I believe if I called him in the middle of the night, and said 'Vic I need you,' he'd be there."

To that, Blackmon spoke up for the first time and said Ralph Jinnette would do the same for him and recalled a time when Jinnette gave him a ride in the snow.

They joked about how when there was downtime at work Blackmon always found a way to keep himself busy.

"Literally hundreds of times I would get an order and I would say, 'Vic stand right here, don't move because that truck's got to go as soon as I get a call back.' So someone would distract me and I'd turn around and Vic's gone. Where is he? He's out there dragging the yard, sweeping that big parking lot or finding something else to do," Larry Jinnette said.

Vickie Creech, Blackmon's daughter, said her father doesn't stop working even after he gets home.

"He has to be doing something all the time. He farms. He has goats. He cuts my grass, my sister's grass. He helps every neighbor in our neighborhood," she said.

Legend has it that in the 60 years Blackmon drove a truck for W.P. Rose, he was never issued a ticket or citation for his driving. They said he was pulled over once and commended on his safe and cautious driving.