A retirement celebration was held for Yadkinville’s town tax collector Joy Hutchens on Friday. Hutchens has served in the role for 26 years. Hutchens said she didn’t have a career goal to become a tax collector, but it is something she has enjoyed.
“The town’s been so good to me,” Hutchens said. “I’ve enjoyed my work. Some people dread going to work, but I never did. I looked forward to coming in every day.”
A Yadkinville native and Forbush graduate, Hutchens began her career as an X-ray technician at Hoots Hospital before coming to work at the town hall in April of 1989.
Her coworkers at town hall taught her a lot, she said, and most of all she enjoyed the close knit family atmosphere of the group.
“It was home,” Hutchens said, “They were like family. We shared a lot, good and bad times. It’s hard to leave, it’s been a big part of my life for 26 years.”
Dealing with people’s money doesn’t make for an easy job. When the economy went south a few years ago, Hutchens said that was one of the most difficult challenges of her career and she saw people she knew lose their homes.
“That was pretty tough,” she said.
Though it wasn’t her goal to become a tax collector and it’s not a job many would want, Hutchens has done it cheerfully these last 26 years.
“I wasn’t going to be a tax collector,” she said. “I went to X-ray school. I laugh because when people say they’re a nurse or they work at a bank, people say ‘oh, I want to do that.’ Never has anybody said to me ‘oh, I’d like to do [your] job.’”
Following her retirement, Hutchens said she didn’t have any major plans other than spending more time with her family. She has two grandchildren with another on the way.
“I figure they’ll keep me busy,” she said. “It’s the most wonderful thing I’ve ever experienced. There’s nothing like when that little one walks in and runs and hugs your neck and says ‘I love you, Nana.’ I’m excited to spend time with them.”
Interim Town Clerk Shelia Weathers, who has worked with Hutchens for 15 years, called her a good friend and said she was sad to see her go. Weathers said on behalf of the town of Yadkinville, she wished Hutchens all the best in her retirement.
“She’s been a great friend to me and we worked very well together,” added Jerry Carlton, who was the town manager when Hutchens first began her career with the town. “When I hired her she jumped right in and did exactly what we wanted her to do.”
Carlton, as well as Nancy Hollar, who also worked closely with Hutchens when she first began her job with the town, did offer one warning, don’t eat at her house. When Hutchens was still a fairly new employee with the town she invited her coworkers over for spaghetti, they subsequently became very sick and have teased her about her cooking ever since.
During her retirement party, Yadkinville Mayor Pro Tem Eddie Norman presented Hutchens with a plaque of appreciation for her years of service to the town and congratulated her on her retirement.
Hutchens spoke briefly at the reception and said she had loved working for the town.
“I’m just so blessed,” she said. “I’m going to miss you, but I’m ready to move on and I know that the town is in good hands and you’re going to keep doing what you’re doing.”
Taking over for Hutchens in the role of tax collector will be Crystal Sprague, and Rebekah Brown was hired to take Sprague’s position as the customer-service rep/collection clerk.
Kitsey E. Burns maybe reached at 336-679-2341 or on Twitter @RippleReporterK.