Over the past half-century, a lot has changed in Shelburne. Fifty years ago, fewer than 2,000 people lived here. There were only 15.28 miles of highway, and the road commissioner’s budget was $80,000. One thing has remained constant in the town of Shelburne, however. Paul Goodrich has been working for the Highway Department for 50 years, keeping the roads in good shape.
“His dedication to the town for the past 50 years has been unparalleled,” Town Manager Joe Colangelo said.
Goodrich’s first day on the job was June 1, 1967. He was already active in the Shelburne community, and had joined the fire department the year before.
During the next five decades, the town grew and changed. Highway mileage expanded to 52.45 miles. The population is now over 7,000, and the department’s budget has grown to $1.3 million. Along the way, Goodrich remained steady in his dedication. His contributions were recognized at the May 23 Selectboard meeting.
Each morning, Goodrich is up before dawn. He drives every bit of the town’s highway mileage each day, on the lookout for any problems.
One oft-highlighted point that demonstrates Goodrich’s commitment is his approach to winter. When the weather turns rough, Goodrich sleeps in his uniform so that he is ready to head out in the middle of the night to plow.
Finance Director Peter Frankenburg has known Goodrich for many years. He had positive things to say about the longtime highway superintendent, describing him as very hardworking and budget-conscious.
The highway department budget is one of the largest within the town. Goodrich has perfected parsing out the money so that he gets the work done without going over budget.
“[He] also responds very quickly when someone calls with a concern…He’s right on it,” Frankenburg said, noting that often Goodrich will jump into his truck and drive up to see the caller.
Goodrich’s commitment to the town extends beyond his department. Parks & Recreation Director Betsy Cieplicki also had praise for him.
“He’s certainly helped us a lot. He’s amazing,” Cieplicki said.
Cieplicki worked with Goodrich a number of times over the years. She said that she has benefitted from his knowledge and experience on several projects.
“[He is] one of the hardest-working people I know,” she said.
Police Chief James Warden echoed that sentiment. He has known Goodrich for 30 years and worked with him on a major project in the past. “He’s an honest, hardworking man,” he said. Warden said that he has always been impressed with Goodrich.
“I think that it is pretty rare for someone to work with a place for 50 years,” Colangelo said. “He deserves a lot of praise and thanks from the community.”
At the May 23 meeting, the Selectboard presented Goodrich with gifts and the audience gave him a standing ovation. Goodrich accepted the acknowledgement quietly.