Woodward, Okla. —
After 16 years on the job, Ted Craighead is retiring from his position as a Woodward County Commissioner.
A retirement reception in his honor was held Friday afternoon in the records room of the County Clerk's Office at the courthouse. His co-workers from the county commission and clerk's office presented him with a clock and plaque "in appreciation for [his] years of service to Woodward County."
Craighead said he became interested in serving as a county commissioner after working in another county office.
"I first worked in the county assessor's office for a couple of summers," he said.
Then when former County Commissioner Merle Guthrie decided to retire in 1996, Craighead filed as a candidate to replace him.
Craighead said he felt compelled to file for the position because he felt he was qualified.
"It looked like something I could do quite well," he said. "I'd worked in the public in sales, been in the implement business, and I had a college degree. So there were a lot of things that when added up, made me think I could be a good county commissioner."
But Craighead had a little competition for the job. "There were 3 of us who ran," he said.
Craighead eventually won out and was sworn in as the District 2 County Commissioner on Jan. 2 1997.
He said what kept him coming back for 4 terms as a county commissioner were the people.
"I enjoyed working with the people, there are a lot of good people in the county," he said.
And it is "just seeing, being around and working with those people," that Craighead said he will miss the most about retiring from his service as a commissioner.
But there are other things he won't miss, including "snowstorms and all the weather events that just require a lot of extra effort."
With Monday being his last official day on the job as it is the last day of the year, Craighead said he hopes that a winter storm headed for the area won't cause too much trouble.
"If we can just make it through the New Year's snow storm, then I think I'll be alright," he said with a smile.
However, avoiding having to coordinate response to snowstorms isn't the reason that Craighead said he is leaving.
Instead, he said he is stepping down so that another may step up.
"We need to get some good young men in here," he said.
Voters in November's election decided that Randy Johnson will be the man to replace Craighead. Johnson will be sworn in as the new District 2 county commissioner on Wednesday, Jan. 2.
With his final term drawing to a close, Craighead said he has a number of accomplishments that he was proud to achieve in the past 16 years.
"We put in several miles of chip and seal, put in a major deal with the overlay between Sharon-Mutual schools, rocked about 150 miles of road, and we have replaced all of the sub-standard 20-foot and above bridges in District 2, which I think was about 8," he said.
As he moves into retirement, Craighead said he is looking to make different types of accomplishments.
"There's quite a few things to do around the farm and house," he said.
But it won't just be all work, as Craighead said he and his wife Odalee also "plan to travel and see some of the things we haven't been able to in the past."