Photo by Chris Cooper While looking over some plans for the City of Russellville, Wayne Thomas talks about retirement and his future plans to see more of his grandchildren bringing a smile to his face.

Photo by Chris Cooper

While looking over some plans for the City of Russellville, Wayne Thomas talks about retirement and his future plans to see more of his grandchildren bringing a smile to his face.

As time gains momentum, our futures become clearer and perspective shines on us like the beams of a lighthouse leading the way to what matters most.

Working for most of us takes up a lot of our lives in the beginning and middle, however, what comes afterward is a treat worth tasting every last drop of.

Wayne Thomas is looking forward to this next chapter in his life and the thoughts of spending more time with his wife, son, and grandchildren brings a lasting smile to his face and a twinkle to his eyes.

Thomas is ending an illustrious career in wastewater treatment come Dec. 1, when he officially retires from the City of Russellville. Although being the leader in treatment for the past 20 years for the city, this was but one of his monikers, as he took care of so many responsibilities earning him a jack-of-all-trades title around the office.

The knowledge Thomas has gained over the past 45 years in wastewater treatment can only be learned through countless years of experience which the city will lose when he takes down his shingle.

"I am going to miss this place and all the people I work with," said Thomas referring to them as part of his family. "But I am looking forward to more time with my immediate family. To be able to have that time for them now is unmeasurable and I am grateful to God for having it."

Thomas is a Chandlers Chapel native having graduated in 1968. Right out of high school he was drafted by the United States Army and sent to Vietnam as part of the Airborne Infantry where he spent over a year in the trenches. Like most who fight in wars, Thomas doesn't talk about it much preferring to leave the past in the past. Thomas had two brothers who also served in Vietnam, his oldest in the Special Forces as a Green Beret.

After returning to Logan County after the war, Thomas married the love of his life, Peggy Sue Lockhart. They have been married now for over 46 years, have one son, Daniel Wayne, and two grandsons, Elijah and Ezra.

Beginning his career with the Federal Government, Thomas worked on regulations for water-wastewater treatment in the 1970s. He also found time to attend Western Kentucky University earning a degree in Science and Biology. And if he didn't already have enough on his plate, God wanted a little of him as well, calling him into the ministry. Thomas spent four years in Seminary in Louisville to prepare for a 30-plus year mission pastoring many churches.

In 1998, Thomas began working for the City of Russellville during Mayor Shirlee Yassney's administration. He started out helping to create the city's first code enforcement branch and then used his vast knowledge in wastewater treatment to help the city transition out of the water crisis it was in. From there, Thomas helped the city in many ways from safety to being the "go-to-guy" for help.

Two mayors later, Thomas is still the go-to-guy and for mayor Mark Stratton it is going to be hard not having him around.

"He has been my right-hand man, my friend," said an emotional Mayor Stratton. "He has done so much for this city and its growth. He is a God-led man, has integrity, is dedicated, and will leave a large hole when he is gone. But we will move forward and are a better city because of his influence."

Jason Henderson will be taking over for Thomas after he retires. He is currently training alongside him learning all he can from someone who has much to teach.

"I have loved this job and those I have worked with over the years," said Thomas. "There has never been a day I didn't get up and wasn't happy to come into work. It's one of the best places to be. You don't walk around on eggshells here. We all work together to benefit those we serve. I am not a profit by any measure, but I know God is in charge of this city and He still has big plans."