Tony Beckwith has been serving the City of Liberal in the capacity of director of the wastewater treatment plant for nearly three decades. Friday afternoon, he embarked on a new adventure in his life – retirement.
On Feb. 2, 1982, Beckwith accepted a job with the City of Liberal and has not looked back since.
“I have lived in Liberal since I was three years old, and we moved away and went to Wichita for awhile and then Oklahoma for awhile,” he said. “Then we came back to Liberal, I needed a job so I just applied for it.”
Of all the things Beckwith would accomplish on a day to day basis, his favorite part of the job was the people he encountered.
“I loved working with the public, the city and the commissioners,” he said. “I got eight full-time employees that I like real well.”
For nearly 28 years, Beckwith has seen technology take hold in Liberal by watching operations in his very department change drastically.
“We kept up and maintained the plant for 27 years,” he said. “We take care of about 150 miles of city sewer lines. We have purchased equipment, televising equipment, cleaning equipment, you know, to keep the system up. We have got a computer program which tells us all of the lines we clean and where we have had problems at – just trying to please the public is our main job.
“It has really changed a lot,” he explained. “I started with the City of Liberal working at the old wastewater treatment plant. So, when we built this new plant, it was state of the art for the State of Kansas. It was built in probably 1982 – just when I started. The technology is changing yet today so the plant is going to have to be upgraded to meet new permits.”
Beckwith has a few things to do so he can keep himself busy. However, the plans he has only have to occupy his time for another three years – until his wife, Carol, retires from the Liberal Housing Authority.
“I do have a ‘27 Ford Roadster that I mess around with,” he said. “But, I opened a bar. It is called Cruisers 54. I am going to be running it from about 2 p.m. until about 8 p.m. Then my son and his girlfriend take over and run it until midnight. It is just a 3.2 bar.
“It is actually just to give me something to do for the next three years until my wife retires,” he continued with a chuckle. “We have a 40-foot Monaco Diesel Pusher motorhome. We are gonna hit the road and enjoy this wonderful country of ours.”
Beckwith, a humble man, is just happy to have had the opportunity to serve the City of Liberal for the last 27-plus years of his life.
“I am just really glad that they kept me on for this many years,” he said appreciatively. “I am just happy to have worked for the City of Liberal.”
A reception was conducted in Tony Beckwith’s honor Friday afternoon at the Rock Island Depot. Friends and colleagues were on hand to wish him well, and thank him for his years of devotion to the City of Liberal.
“It is rare that we have an employee as dedicated and deserving as Tony,” Mayor Joe Denoyer said. “He has been with the city for a lot of years.
“Actually, he oversaw the construction of the current wastewater treatment facility and worked for the old one,” he added. “We are going to miss him, and I just hope he enjoys retirement.”