MINERSVILLE — In 1962, Jerry Roush was a man digging ditches when he heard that a job was opening up.
So he grabbed it.
And now, 53 years later, at 73 years old, he’s leaving the same building he’s worked in for over 50 years.
“I appreciate all the people who I’ve worked with through the years,” Roush said.
Roush’s job included driving what is known as a “straight truck” full of fuel to nearby locations in Jackson, Gallia and Meigs counties. The place where he works is now known as G&M Fuel Co., formerly known as Ashland Oil.
Throughout his time at the job, Roush said he’s seen some major changes in Meigs County, and added that he was on the scene to deliver fuel when the dams in the river and the area coal mines were first being built and used. He said he also remembers the building of hydro-plants as well.
“When they built Mountaineer Power Plant, I was the first one there when they started moving dirt,” he said.
One of the things Roush said he remembers most about his early career was an incident in which the local coal mines flooded. Roush said officials had to drill down into the mines to pump all the water out — according to Roush, they were pumping out millions of gallons per day.
“The water apparently had acid in it, and they put treatment in (the water) to take the acid out, and it just instantly turned blue,” he said.
Roush also remembers the change in technology throughout the years, and how it made his job simpler. Specifically, Roush remembers when calculators came along.
“We had to do everything by hand. We had just sheets of paper, like a yellow tablet,” he said. “So when someone first gave me a calculator, I said, ‘Why would I want one of them things?’ But I found out how easy they were.”
Some of the challenges of Roush’s career involved attempting to deliver fuel after a heavy snow. He said the rising sun helped to melt the snow enough to drive through, but that mud left over could also present a problem.
Throughout his career Roush worked under seven supervisors. During the Ashland Oil years, Roush worked for Galen Brown, Gene Coleman, Bob Meyers and Hershael McClure. Under G&M Fuel Co., Roush worked for Don Swisher. According to Roush, up until 1980, company employees delivered to service stations. But now that semi-trucks mainly deliver to those stations, he and his fellow employees delivered to industrial farms and homes.
Throughout his career, Roush has worked alongside his 67-year-old brother, Jake Roush, who still works for G&M.
“If everybody had brothers like my brother, Jake, the world would be a better place to live,” Jerry said.
While he said he doesn’t have too many specific retirement plans, Roush and his wife, Sharon, will be woodworking and gardening. She said she’s proud of the longevity of her husband’s job.
“It’s a long time for one company,” she said.
At his retirement party, friends and family came to wish Jerry well in his retirement.
“It’s really a pleasure to work with Jerry. He’s a really a good Christian man,” former coworker Jeff Johnson said. “You don’t get that very often anymore, working with a good Christian person.”
Roush, who attends both Independent Holiness Church in Rutland and Faith Baptist Church in Mason, W.Va., gave credit for his success to God.
“The Lord’s been mighty good to me,” he said. “I give him credit for all.”
Reach Lindsay Kriz at 740-444-4303.
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