Turner retires after 38 years of service to city, animal shelter

Published 4:21 pm Friday, June 8, 2018

After dedicating more than half of his life to helping and rescuing animals in the community, long-time animal control officer Freddie Turner is hanging up his uniform this weekend.

Saturday will mark the end of Turner’s 38 years of employment with the City of Elizabethton as the Animal Control Officer. When Turner accepted the position with the city, he was 36 years old.

To mark the occasion, staff at the Elizabethton/Carter County Animal Shelter where Turner worked hosted a retirement party for their colleague. The staff invited Turner’s daughter and granddaughter to join them for the celebration. Several officials from the City of Elizabethton and Carter County attended the event and thanked Turner for his dedication and hard work over the years.

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Elizabethton Director of Planning and Economic Development Jon Hartman presented Turner with a certificate from the City of Elizabethton honoring him for his “dedication and service to this city.”

Animal Shelter Director Shannon Posada presented Turner with a plaque thanking him for his service.

“I will miss it, but I’ll be back to help out over here,” Turner said on Friday. “I know I’m going to get bored after a while. When you get used to doing something every day you’re going to get bored when you stop.”

Over his nearly four decades of service, Turner said he made a lot of good friends and a lot of good memories, too many to pick a favorite. The most enjoyable parts of his work, Turner said, was getting to look out for the animals and seeing people get their pets.

When asked if he had any big plans for enjoying his retirement, Turner said he had a plan all figured out. “I’m going to sit on the front porch and watch the cars go by,” he said with a laugh. “That’s all I’m going to do.”

Following Turner’s answer, his daughter, Sona Mathis,  said she and other family members were going to “drag him down to the bank and put a pole in his hand.”

And, not only will Turner miss his friends at the animal shelter, those friends said they would miss him, too.

His colleagues described him as dedicated, a hard worker, and a one-of-a-kind.

Posada became director of the shelter in late 2016, but she had experience working with Turner for years before that due to her work in veterinary medicine in the community. She described him as diligent and hardworking.

“We can’t replace him,” Posada said. “He has been a good asset to us.”