A lot can happen in 50 years. But for Leland Walker, one thing never changed.
Tuesday, friends and family of Walker, as well as local legislators, met at the Carter County District 1 Barn to honor a man who has collected paychecks from the county for 50 years.
"I've seen a lot of changes, some good and some bad," Walker said. "I first went to work to get a job, and I just stayed 50 years.
"This is a surprise, and I've got to work with good people."
Walker had no idea his stint with the county would last beyond a week when former commissioner Huss Standifer hired him at the age of 24. Walker had been working on a farm and ranch, and started Oct. 1, 1963. He spent his first day on the job working on a bridge. He was told he could finish out the week.
"I'm still working out the week," Walker said.
His landmark did not go unnoticed, as he received commendations from the state capitol.
"In this day and age where people change jobs on a whim, to stick with it for 50 years shows dedication to the job," said Sen. Frank Simpson (R-Ardmore).
Tommy Hardin (R-Madill) said he was amazed that anyone could stick with a job for 50 years. And Walker is not finished yet. He said he enjoys working in the outdoors and operating the grader. And he plans on adding years to his resume.
"I will just keep working until I can't," he said. "I don't want to stay stuck in the house. I love to be out and meet people."
Rep. Pat Ownbey (R-Ardmore) said it was a tribute that in these days, someone stays with a job for 50 years.
"He knows everybody, and everybody loves him," Ownbey said. "And now we know why."
County Commissioner Joe David McReynolds saluted Walker as a dedicated employee who never takes time off.
"He is honest, and he is a friend," he said. "He is the type of worker that probably everybody wishes they had. I was glad everyone could show up. It's a good honor for him."