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After 34 years, Fuller calls it a day

New Durham honors retired road agent

MARK FULLER enjoys a gift that he was presented with from Selectman Terry Jarvis. Tim Croes. (click for larger version)
January 11, 2011
NEW DURHAM — Mark Fuller started with the New Durham Highway Department as a truck driver 34 years ago.

And on Jan. 1 he retired from his position as the town's road agent. One thing Fuller is looking forward to is relaxing during a big snowstorm.

"I don't have to worry everytime it snows," Fuller said. "It means I can relax during the winter."

With more than 30 years on the job, Fuller has seen a lot and he shared many of those memories at a reception held in his honor this past Sunday at the New Durham School.

One particular story that made the crowd of friends and family explode in laughter was the time Fuller went out and tried to help a bus that had run off the road.

"There were no children on the bus. The truck started to slide back and I hit the front of the bus and we both proceeded down the hill backwards. I had no clue where the driver was," Fuller said. "I ran around to go find him and found out that he was in the doorway when I hit the bus. I knocked the driver out."

The driver ended up with a couple scrapes and scratches, but the bus had to be replaced.

Cathy Orlowicz, who is the secretary at the Highway Department, has worked with Fuller for the last three years and knows not having him around will be different.

"I will miss him calling and giving me a hard time for letting the phone ring three times," Orlowicz said. "I am going to miss his style that he brought to the office every day."

Orlowicz, who has lived in town for 22 years, worked together with Fuller in volunteer activities like organizing a road race before she started working at the Highway Department.

She knows the Fuller had a lot of knowledge about the town and its history.

"He is like a walking encyclopedia of the history of New Durham," Orlowicz added.

As part of the retirement celebration, Fred March, a member of the New Durham Board of Selectmen, presented Fuller with a plaque honoring him for his 34 years of service.

Board Chairperson Terry Jarvis sent along a CAT toy to show support for Fuller's long-time dedication to the town.

Mike Clarke, who took over for Fuller on Jan. 1 and has been told that he has big shoes to fill, joked with the crowd at the reception.

"I just want to thank you for all the help you have given me over the 20 years," Clarke said. "For 21 years, you've been wearing my shoes and I want them back."

Fuller remembered another time when he was out on Ten Rod Road helping Frank Parsons get his vehicle out of jam.

Fuller ended up sliding down the hill and fell down on his back and had water go up his jacket. It was a moment that Parsons wished he had captured.

"I wish I had a camera," Parsons said at the time.

Cathy Allyn, who is the assistant librarian in town, thanked Fuller for all his hard work.

"He does go above and beyond the call of duty," Allyn said.

"Other towns always say that our roads are better maintained."

Fuller is proud of his time with the Highway Department and is looking forward to retirement.

"I am proud of the accomplishments we've made in town, improving the road system and the drainage system," Fuller added. "I am ready to enjoy life and work on some things around the house."

He will be able to enjoy retirement with his wife Paula, who was presented with flowers at the reception by Orlowicz.

"We all know behind every successful man there is a very strong woman," Orlowicz said about Paula.

Tim Croes can be reached at tcroes@salmonpress.com or 569-3126

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