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Fire chief 's secretary retires after more than two decades

Amelia Harrison said goodbye Friday to the Thomson Fire Department, her employer of the past 20 years.

Harrison was secretary to two Thomson fire chiefs, and to two McDuffie County fire chiefs in the 12 years before that.

"I just went looking for a job, and I was hired through the CETA program through the county," she said.

She worked with Chiefs Herbert Widner and Paul Bue with the county service, then with Raymond McHatton and most recently Rick Sewell with the city.

Harrison was honored with a drop-in at the main fire station Friday. On Thursday night, friends set up a dinner in her honor at the fire station. Mayor Kenneth Usry and other dignitaries attended.

"She's a sweet lady," said Ruth Jordan, the secretary at Thomson City Hall. "She's always had a smile, always been upbeat and positive. If you ever needed anything, you'd call there and she'd get it to the chief, and just like that, you'd hear back."

Sewell said the open mic night was an emotional farewell to a longtime co-worker.

Harrison said that the fire department has become like family but that she is looking forward to spending more time with her other family, including her mother, her children and grandchildren.

Harrison's duties included posting incident reports, training reports and drill reports.

Deanna Wall trained with Harrison for one week before stepping into the position.

Web posted on Thursday, April 21, 2011

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