Caraway Water Superintendent Terry Couch was named Arkansas Waste Water Works and Water Environmental Association Manager of the year on May 3, during the AWW&WEA awards banquet in Hot Springs.
Four individuals recommended Couch for the award and include Tim Carey, ARWA Circuit Rider from Pocahontas, Larry Futrell, ARRA Circuit Rider of Wynne, and City of Caraway office personnel Margaret Glidewell and Marcia Stevens.
Carey wrote, "Terry has over 18 years experience and is a person with exceptional knowledge. I think he could fix anything. He is often called on by many of his neighboring systems for help and never refused an operator in need."
Futrell wrote, "I trained Terry 16 years ago when the city switched from a lagoon to an activated sludge wastewater treatment plant. He was excited and anxious to venture into an unknown field. I have trained several operators in the past 20 years, but none that impressed me as much as Terry. Now I, the teacher, find myself going to Terry when I incur unique problems with the systems."
Glidewell and Stevens wrote, "Terry is trustworthy, intelligent and a hard worker. He goes out of his way to meet the needs of the water customers. We are fortunate to have a water superintendent with his abilities."
Mayor Barry Riley praised Couch during the May 13 city council meeting for his dedication as water superintendent.
Couch is a Caraway native and graduated from high school there in 1974. He began his career as Caraway Water Superintendent in 1991. He has attained several training certificates during his 18 years on the jo, and has been presented with several district and state awards for his accomplishments.
Couch and his wife Cindi have three grown children, Jordan, Jacob and Chelse, and four grandchildren. They are active members of the Caraway First Baptist Church and are very involved in their community.
"We love living here in Caraway, even though my work is demanding at times," Couch said. "Sometimes it gets hectic, especially during breakdowns, floods and ice storms. Once I get started working on a repair, and the lines are down, I can't quit until it is finished. During the ice storm I was on duty for 103 hours that week. I had a good back up team of volunteers who came out to volunteer their help, my brothers, Randy and Fred, and John Starnes.
"I can't do my job alone and have a good team to work with me," Couch said. "Merle Bard is my main back-up operator, and we work good together. David Roberson is a dedicated worker also. We make every effort to keep our old system working and will do whatever is necessary to get it up and going again.
"The flood of 1997 was a tough one for Caraway. The whole town was under water, including the collection system. Gary Jeffers and John Huskisson worked with our city crew for two days and nights non-stop."
"In Caraway the city workers are not just a number, we are people first," he said. "The people in town know all of us and treat us with respect, which makes us work even harder to solve problems."
Couch has served on the Craighead County Quorum Court for two terms, one appointed and one elected. He is running for his third term this year.
"I like being a justice of the peace on the Quorum Court," Couch said. "I have had the opportunity to marry seven different couples. That is a unique experience for sure."
"When I do get time off, I love to take the kids and grandkids hunting and fishing," he said. "I feel like God has blessed me richly, and I am thankful to be right here in Caraway surrounded by the people I love, and the ones who love and appreciate me."