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Public Works Veteran Retires
With his broad brimmed straw hat and riding boots, Darrell Green looks every inch a cowboy and in fact he owns a ranch up in the hills near Groveland and loves riding horses besides hunting and fishing.

It's a far cry from his former job with the Riverbank Public Works (now called Community Development Services) Department, from which he is retiring after 35 years of work which culminated in the position of storm, sewer and streets supervisor.

His last day technically will be Aug. 10, but he's been on disability leave since early March when what he thought was indigestion turned out to be a severe cardiovascular problem and landed him in hospital for quadruple bypass surgery.

"I'm very lucky. I've been given a second chance. I'm getting out now, while I have time to enjoy retirement," said the 58-year-old Green. "I was splitting wood by hand on the ranch just two days before they took me to the hospital. I was by myself and could have keeled over with a heart attack right there. Now they say I have a strong heart and could last another 20 years."

Raised in Riverbank with the likes of Dave Reece and John Hurst who still work for the department, Green started there in 1977 as a CETA employee funded by a state grant. He worked hard enough to be hired on a permanent basis and progressed through most of the department's divisions.

"I started in garbage. They put us in that to root out the real workers," he said. "It was hard work but I made it. After a while, I went into parks, then streets, then I spent 10 years in water and finished as a supervisor."

Asked what he remembers as the high spots, good or bad, emergencies or not, Green replied: "There were always emergencies, especially during the flood season. But the main thing I recall was the guys. The department is actually a family. We spent more time with each other than we did with our wives. I went to kindergarten with Dave and John. I have photographs to prove it. Then we worked together for 35 years. We went through the good times and the bad times together. I grew up in Riverbank. It will always be my hometown."

Darrell and his wife Kim, whom he met while she was driving a school bus, moved to Groveland in 2001. They lived in a fifth wheel trailer while they cleared 15 feet high manzanita bushes from the site of their future home. Now Green can sit on his porch listening to the birds and enjoy a panoramic view of nine mountain ridges.

He and Kim (his second wife) have four grown sons, Joey who is a K-9 police officer for the City of Dos Palos; Marcus who lives in Riverbank and is a sheriff's deputy for Tuolumne County; Gaston who is enrolled in an RN program at Memorial Medical Center and Eric, who enjoys welding.

"My wife is disabled after back surgery," said Green. "So it was tough while I was driving to work one and a half hours each way. Now we can both relax and enjoy life."

Green was in town recently finalizing arrangements for a retirement party that city staff is throwing for him on July 27. For those who want to attend the party, the cost is $20 per person, the deadline to sign up is July 17 and the people to contact are Laura Graybill at 209-863-7155 or Cheryl Stefani at 209-863-7127.