(Town Crier photo/Nan Snider)
Larry Denny administered the oath of office to Alberda, during the reception held in her honor at the post office in Monette.
"It is an honor to swear in Gena," Denny said. "She has been waiting for this a long time and is a very deserving person."
The newly renovated post office was filled with family members and community well-wishers, who came to observe the ceremony and help Alberda celebrate.
"I took the oath of office in this post office 25 years ago this past Monday," former postmaster Beulah Cannon said. "I bought a house here and made this my home. I love the way the post office looks now, Gena and Perry (Wood, contractor) have done a great job. We are lucky to have Gena here, and this is a day to celebrate."
Jerry Reed led the pledge to the American Flag and Alberda's pastor, Terry Miller, of the Monette Assembly of God Church, worded the prayer.
"When you speak of Gena, you speak from the heart," said Monette Mayor David Fletcher. "She does a good job and tries to help everyone. We are very glad to have her here.
"Her father (Al Alberda) is a retired Army man, and she (Gena) is a worldly person, having moved around so much. She told me she moved back here when she was 12 years old and attended Monette High School and the Assembly of God Church. She and her family are all home town people.
"We have all waited a long time for this. We don't want any more transitions."
"I had the pleasure of sitting in on her interview," said Hillary Adams, Jonesboro postmaster, who presented her with a special certificate. "I am glad to have her here. She will do a great job."
"I have waited for this a long time," Alberda said. "I wanted to be a link to every household in Monette.
"Beulah Cannon encouraged me to take my civil service test when I worked across the street at John Deere. I got my test back and my score was 100.0. I had set that as my goal and tried so hard to do good on the test. When I read the final score, I was thrilled.
"I recall telling Beulah that someday I hoped to be standing right where she was, behind the counter as postmaster of Monette. I have had a lot of encouragement along the way, from Nick Somore, Hillary Adams, Mom and Dad, my brother and sister, sister-in-law, my church and many friends.
"My dad was beginning to wonder if he was going to live to see this all happen. When I got the news on a Friday, I literally jumped for joy. Monette is such a special place to me, and this is where I want to stay for the rest of my life.
"When we moved back here, I sacked groceries for my uncle at Nobel's Grocery. That taught me responsibility. I look around the room today and see many people who have been instrumental in my life. I learned it all here in Monette.
"My old memories of this town go back to sodas in 10 ounce bottles, where you could collect them and get refunds, when post cards were 1 cent and general postage was 3 cents, when all businesses closed on Wednesday for church that night, when kids did not ride in car seats. I look forward to creating some more good old memories.
"I appreciate your support. We will thrive together."
Postal workers attending the reception included Karen Vaughn, Larry Towell, Lisa Scott, Tammy Betts, Rick Mann, Ron Nunnally, Eva and Sissy from Arkansas State University, Paula Cockrum, Anna Beth Thomas, Beulah Cannon, Karen Vaughn and Pat Jones.
Rev. Captain Lovell, pastor of the Monette First Baptist Church, closed the festivities with prayer.
Two large tables were set up in the post office to hold special cakes, finger foods, and punch for guests to enjoy following the ceremony.