Spraggins, a 30-year employee with the Houston Street Department, was remembered by fellow workers and city personnel as someone who knew his job and someone who always came to work with the right attitude to help the city.
“I always felt my job was to get safe, clean water to people,” said Spraggins. “That’s a pretty important job in any community.”
Spraggins started work on Dec. 1, 1982 just before the birth of his first daughter. Spraggins said his daughter has grown up and Houston has changed a lot.
“They used a lot more labor back in those days,” said Spraggins. “Today we have a lot more equipment and it’s a lot more technical and computerized. Things have changed a lot but I think they have changed for the better. I’m proud to have been a part of some of those changes.”
Spraggins said he always felt he was on call 24-7.
“Hot, cold, wet, dry, night or day, if they needed me I came out and did what we needed to do,” said Spraggins. “That is one part of the job I won’t miss.”
Houston Mayor Stacey Parker said employees with that sense of community service are hard to find.
“On behalf of the city and this community, I want to thank you for your years of service,” said Parker. “It is appreciated and it has not gone unnoticed.”
Parker pointed out Spraggins out-lasted four mayors.
“Working for the city is not easy,” said Parker. “You always were friendly and you always did your best.”
Spraggins was presented a gift and a reception at City Hall on Friday. A giant cake decorated to say “Mr. Fix-It” was enjoyed by all.
Houston Street Department Superintendent Ricko Nichols said Spraggins’ retirement is bitter-sweet.
“Johnny was always someone I could count on to do it right,” said Nichols. “I don’t know anyone in this town who knows more about where meters are and where waterlines have been laid.
“He always came to work ready to work and ready to help other on his crew,” said Nichols. “He is a good man with a good family and he deserves more time with them.”
Nichols said there is no doubt he will still call Spraggins wanting to know details about the city’s water system.
“I’m a big one on seniority and keeping good employees because you can’t buy that knowledge,” said Nichols. “We may get another employee but Johnny Spraggins will never be replaced.”