Ralph Rogers loves getting up in the morning and going to work.
He must. It's a routine that he has been doing for the past five decades - that's right - 50 years. And Mr. Rogers has no plans to retire anytime soon.
Dedication, loyalty and punctuality have been his most outstanding attributes. And it's all been for the same company - Hoover Wood Treated Products, Inc. in Thomson.
Mr. Rogers, now 67, first began working part-time for the company when he was just a 17-year-old student at Thomson High School. Back then, the company was known as Dixie Wood Preserving Company and was based in Dearing.
"Ralph is one of the reasons this company is as successful as it has been through the years," says Jack Smith, the retired president, chief executive officer and founder of the company. "I hired Ralph when he was just a teenager, and I've never regretted it. He has helped make this company successful, like so many other outstanding employees have. It's great to have employees as dedicated and loyal to their jobs as Ralph has been."
And Mr. Rogers plans to continue working there as a salesman for as long as his health is good.
"I really love my job and what I do," said Mr. Rogers during a recent interview with The McDuffie Mirror. "I've worked there for 50 years and I want to continue to work there for as long as I can. I work with a lot of really nice people there. I would miss them a lot and the job if I retired."
He remembers, like it was yesterday, how his employment first came about with the company.
The setting was 1955 and a commercial/vocational teacher at Thomson High School received a telephone call from Mr. Smith inquiring whether she might have a student interested in working part-time. She did, and that student happened to be none other than Mr. Rogers.
"My first job with the company was working as a records keeper," said Mr. Rogers.
As he continued to learn more and more about company operations, the more he impressed company officials, including Mr. Smith, who took considerable notice.
"You could just tell that he was different, a real eager learner," said Mr. Smith. "From that point on, I knew the school had sent me the right person."
By the time Mr. Rogers was ready to graduate, he already had been promised a fulltime job at Dixie Wood Preserving Company. As the years went by, the more he learned about different jobs and soon he rose to the position of plant manager - a job he held only three years.
"That particular job was very stressful and demanding," admitted Mr. Rogers. "I haven't had near that sort of stress since I left that position. I guess you could say that that was the only position that never agreed with me."
Mr. Rogers enjoys his current job as a salesman at Hoover Treated Wood Products.
"The job I have right now is the best job I've ever had, because I get the opportunity to help a lot of people," said Mr. Rogers. "That's really what I like doing."
His sales position allows him to talk with people all over America, as well as in some foreign countries, too.
"It's a great job - it really is," said Mr. Rogers.
Hoover Treated Wood Products President Barry Holden thinks as much of Mr. Rogers as does Mr. Smith.
"It's very rare for someone to have worked for a company as long as Ralph has for this company," said Mr. Holden. "He exemplifies the fact that he can perform in any aspect - he's second to none in those characteristics. He's a great example to all of the employees within our company."
Mr. Rogers has been married to Sylvia Gunnels Rogers for nearly 47 years. The couple has a son, Ralph Edward Rogers II and a daughter, Tanya Langham. Mr. and Mrs. Rogers also have a granddaughter, Tori Langham, 11, who is a fourth grader at Briarwood Academy and who is into cheerleading.
In his spare time, Mr. Rogers enjoys fishing with his son-in-law, Cliff Langham, in nearby Folly and Harrison lakes.
Mr. and Mrs. Rogers are members of Washington Heights Baptist Church.
He says he is most appreciative to God for having led him to his mate and for blessing them with two "wonderful" children.
"I thank God everyday for the life I live," said Mr. Rogers.