Alabama DOT honors John Sutton

Published 12:00 am Wednesday, September 11, 2002

Features Editor

March 7, 2001 8 PM

John Sutton has been selected the "Outstanding Employee of the Quarter" in the Seventh Division for the winter quarter 2000 recognition program of the Alabama Department of Transportation.

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Norman Lumpkin, bureau chief, Public Affairs Office, said according to Sutton’s nominator, he is a dedicated employee who is wiling to do what is asked of him and always with a positive attitude.

Lumpkin further stated that Sutton works well with his co-workers, is always on the job on time and very often goes beyond the call of duty.

Sutton, an 18 year employee of the highway department, said he was both surprised and honored by the award.

"I didn’t even know I was up for it until they called me and told me I was the winner," he said. "It came as a total surprise."

Sutton is an assistant supervisor for the Seventh Division, which includes Troy, Eufaula, Ozark, Enterprise, Dothan and Andalusia. He said each day offers different challenges and he always finds his work exciting.

"We always have something different from digging ditches, working the shoulders and paving to removing debris and dead animals from the highway," he said. "It’s never boring, and, to me, it’s exciting knowing that you don’t have to do the same thing day in and day out."

Extreme weather conditions bring additional challenges and excitement to the job – and a lot more work.

The heavy rain over the weekend had highway department maintenance personnel out unstopping drains and putting up barricades. Working on the highway puts Sutton close to the elements.

"We work in some difficult conditions sometimes," Sutton said. "I guess the worst conditions we’ve faced since I’ve been at the highway department were after the snow in the winter of ’73. The snow just brought everything to a halt. All we could so was put out the motor graders and push the snow off the roads. We worked around the clock trying to get the roads open. That was tough."

Hurricanes also put the highway department on the road under emergency conditions.

"Eloise was bad, but Opal hit us the hardest," he said. "We had trees, limbs and other debris all over the roads. We worked day and night.

After a while, it started to get to all of us."

While neither rain, sleet, hail or snow stops the post office from delivering the mail, those conditions also bring out the best in those who work at the highway department.

"We do our best and we work as fast as we possibly can to get the highways open," Sutton said. "It’s always a challenge, but we don’t mind a challenge."

The employee of the quarter said he has no plans to retire any time soon. His job keeps him busy and he enjoys the work and the people.

But, he does have interests once he’s off the job and one of those interests keeps him on the road.

Sutton and his wife, Lois, enjoy traveling, especially with the Three Arts Club of Brundidge. But, his favorite places are in the woods and on the lake.

"I like fishing, hunting and camping and, of course, going to baseball games," said Sutton, who is the uncle of Don Sutton, a member of the Baseball Hall of Fame.

He is very community minded, as evidenced in his 24 years of service as a volunteer fire fighter for the city of Brundidge.

The Suttons live in Brundidge and have their family close by. Their daughter, Mary John Fleming and her husband, Mike, and sons, David and Jason, live in Troy.