SWISS — Dale Truman started working part-time at the Gauley River Public Service District 17 years.

During those years, the Jodie resident has advanced to his full-time position as the GRPSD water operator. He has climbed the ladder of success the hard way, crawling through water and mud and rocks in search of water leaks and broken pipe.

Late last month, Truman was recognized for the hard work of a water operator as he was presented the 2019 Distribution System Operator of the Year for the West Virginia Rural Water Association. Truman was honored by the WVRWA recently at its 2019 conference at Snowshoe and was presented a plaque for his accomplishments by Daniel Vestal, the Southern West Virginia WVRWA circuit rider, last Monday at the PSD office.

“Dale knows the system really well,” Teddy Elliott, chair of the GRPSD board of directors, said. “He knows the operations.

“Working for a public utility is a 24/7, 365 day a year job (and) Dale’s an excellent employee. He deserves this award (and) I’d really like to recognize Tammy (Dale’s wife). My wife knows what she goes through. You sit down to dinner and the phone rings and you have to go. You go to a birthday party and the phone rings.

“You don’t have a family life,” Elliott said. “Dale doesn’t complain. He gets in the truck and goes.”

“He’s a good people person,” Tammy Roop, office manager of the PSD, said, and Stephanie Frame, administrative assistant, added, “He goes way above and beyond, especially with the older people.

“Even if the leak is not on our side, he’ll do what he can to help them get it fixed,” she said.

Vestal, whose work for the WVRWA, has him traveling 19 southern West Virginia counties, also complimented Truman.

“I’ve been working with Dale for six years now and I just think he does an excellent job,” Vestal said.

Truman said he was honored by the award and that he is glad that he can help provide an essential service to his neighbors.

GRPSD provides water to nearly 1300 customers, including the Mount Olive Correctional Center, from the Summersville city limits to the railroad tracks at Gauley Bridge along Route 39, and then to various communities and hollows along the way, including Dixie, Bell Creek and Bentree.

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