Smith County employee recognition spans across several departments and tenure from 30 years to 5 years.
Gayle Hayward nabbed the first accolade when the Commissioners Court this week honored Hayward for 30 years of service to the Smith County Juvenile Services Department.
“Gayle has done excellent work for us,” Smith County Juvenile Services Director Ross Worley said. “She has probably forgotten more about juvenile justice than I have ever known.”
Ms. Hayward grew up in Jasper and earned criminal justice degrees from Tyler Junior College and Sam Houston State University before starting her career at the Juvenile Services Department. She held several positions including: detention officer, detention supervisor, probation officer, and probation supervisor. Moreover, has served as deputy director in charge of probation services for the past 16 years.
Worley said she has been right in the middle of the department’s philosophy of changing kids’ lives.
According to Hayward, she moved to Tyler right after college. In the process she started a family and gained a work family in tandem.
“I am thankful for Smith County and thankful for 30 years,” she said. “I have a little time left before thinking about retiring.”
Deputy Brittnee Young was next in line with 15 years of service to the Smith County Sheriff’s Office under her belt. Currently, she serves as bailiff for Judge Reeve Jackson’s 114th District Court.
Jackson described her as the conscience of their court and her compassion for others.
“If I get it wrong, she tells me; and if I get it right, she tells me,” he said. “She comforts people in our courtroom,” from crime victims and families to defendants. “I’ve never seen so much kindness.”
“She lends a kind ear, provides comfort, and shows respect to everyone because it is the right thing to do,” he continued – to the extent that he tries to follow her example.
According to Judge Jackson, Deputy Young started her career at the Sheriff’s Office working in the Smith County Jail prior to working at the Courthouse. Her most important role, however, is being a mother to three children.
Deputy Fire Marshal Barron Wedgeworth was recognized for 10 years of service to Smith County.
He started working for the Sheriff’s Office in the jail and then on patrol, before joining the Smith County Fire Marshal’s Office about two years ago.
“We’re glad to have him at the Fire Marshal’s Office,” Fire Marshal Chad Hogue said. “He’s a great asset … he inspires me more than he knows.”
Julieta Aguilar was recognized for her five-year anniversary with the Smith County AgrilLife A&M Extension Office. She serves as support staff for Smith County 4-H Agent Skyler Shivley, who said she has a wealth of knowledge in youth development. “We couldn’t ask for a better person in this position,” he said.
Other employees celebrating work anniversaries with the county this month include:
15 Years: Oscar Bennett, Road and Bridge Department
10 Years: Marvin Martin, Sheriff’s Office
5 Years: Danny Warren: Sheriff’s Office