Terry Couch, Caraway wastewater superintendent, received an Outstanding Achievement Award for systems serving fewer than 5,000 customers from the Arkansas Water Works and Water Environmental Association.
Arkansas has nine districts and Couch said he feels fortunate to be chosen for the state award. The winners are nominated and letters of recommendation are submitted to the committee for judging.
Couch has won several district and state awards through the years including receiving the District Level Achievement Award in 2006. He was presented state awards in 1997, served as chairman for the Northeast Arkansas District in 2000, received the 2010 Wastewater Manager of the Year; Outstanding Water Work Award in 2008; and the 2010 District Manager of the Year.
Couch has served as Water and Wastewater Superintendent at Caraway for 21 years. He enjoys serving the community and looks forward to coming to work every day.
"I worked for about 10 years with Merl Bard who had to retire due to health issues a couple of years ago," Couch said. "I was so excited when he was awarded the Arkansas Wastewater Operator of the Year during his years serving in Caraway. I knew he was going to get the award and he did not know he had been selected. Passing down knowledge is what this job is all about. We have to be training our replacements."
Couch said when Bard had to retire he did a lot of praying for the right person to step in.
"I think it paid off when Johnny Boatman joined the staff about a year ago," Couch said. "He is in training and I know he cares about the job and will go above and beyond what is required of him. I hope the day comes when I get to watch him receive the state award from our Arkansas AWW&WEA."
Couch worked with heavy equipment before settling in Caraway.
"Contentment comes from serving people," Couch said. "I love this field and the challenges that it always presents - the midnight leaks, the 72 hour workdays. Mostly, I love the contentment of serving these people. I have had the privilege of being nominated by people that I admire. Lately, I have had the heartbreak of losing a fellow worker to health problems, which reminds me of my own frailties. So now, I am training a very intelligent and hard working young man to take my place. As I said before, my greatest wastewater achievement will be when I see Johnny receive the high honors. I look forward to getting to see that day."
Couch said things change constantly and he is continually training and learning. He said there is no new water which makes it very important to care for what is there.
He and his wife, Cyndi, have three grown children.
Couch also serves as a justice on the Craighead County Quorum Court. Again, he enjoys serving the people.