POINT PLEASANT — Though not all residents of the City of Point Pleasant know his name, Virgil “Duke” Willet has likely helped pick up their trash for over 48 years. It’s believed Willet has worked for the city longer than any other employee in its history.
Willet, 80, who has spent over half his life driving a trash truck through the city streets while most people sleep, decided it was time to retire. He was honored for his service on his last day of the job with a plaque, cake and a reception with his coworkers on Wednesday.
After over 48 years in the sanitation department, Willet said it was time to retire and “enjoy a little of my time.” He added, he plans to do some fishing and tinker around in his building outside his house. He’ll also be home more often which his wife Sharon said she was looking forward to after 48 years of him leaving in the middle of the night to drive the trash truck.
Asked if he would miss working, Willet said, “I don’t think so. I’ll miss the guys I work with.”
Mayor Brian Billings said Willet had a great memory when recalling the history of Point Pleasant and he would miss reminiscing with him.
“It has been an honor for me to work with Duke Willet over many years,” Billings said. “I first met Duke while working for the city during my time here as a summer youth employee. Duke was then, as he has remained over the years, one of the nicest and caring individuals I have ever met. He will be missed not only by the employees here but by the citizens that he has served for over 48 years. Thank you Virgil ‘Duke’ Willet a true servant of the City of Point Pleasant.”
Beth Sergent is editor of Ohio Valley Publishing.