Unruh to retire from KDOT

Tim Porter/KDOT
Pratt Tribune
Norm Unuruh, Greensburg, won’t have to worry about getting called out to deal with icey roads this winter. The Equipment Operator Senior is retiring on October 2 after working 43 year for KDOT.

In two key ways, Norman Unruh is a model of consistency.

For almost 43 years, Norman has worked for KDOT, out of the Greensburg shop.

And after a devastating tornado in 2007 destroyed most of Greensburg, the town where he was born and raised, tore off the roof of his home and shook the walls, he and his wife didn’t move away. They rebuilt.

But after more than four decades, the Equipment Operator Senior is retiring from KDOT. The official date is Oct. 2.

“It’s been,” and he pauses, laughing, “needless to say, it’s been interesting.”

That’s almost 43 years of mowing, patching pavement, doing shoulder work, flagging and plowing snow on U.S. 54 and other highways maintained by the Greensburg Subarea. He says he has always liked the variety of the work.

Norman started with KDOT in Greensburg in November 1977. Since then, “Our equipment really has come up from what it was,” he says.

“And I met a lot of nice folks … best job I’ve ever had. It’s helped me maintain a family life.”

Klete Hackney, Norman’s supervisor, says: “Norman is an asset to the Greensburg Subarea and the agency. I’ve been Norman’s supervisor for nine years, and his dedication to myself and the agency is one of his many attributes. His knowledge and experience that spans 43 years will be sorely missed upon his retirement.”

After he retires, Norman says, he plans to enjoy camping, woodworking and time with his family. He and his wife, Marcia, have two children: Chris and Esther.

“I’m not going to just sit idle,” he says.

But Norman adds: “I might sit a little more idle this winter,” and then he breaks into a laugh.

For the first time in 43 years, he realizes, he won’t be called out for snow and ice work.