Jeff Long
Jeff Long

ROCKFORD – For the past 35 years, Rockford’s Jeff Long has worked under the direction of the Ohio Public Retirement System, 28 years with the City of Rockford. Twenty-four of those years, he has been employed with that city as the town’s first administrator.

These days, it came down to a final few days, including the holidays. Long retired at the end of the year.

Long, a graduate of Parkway High School in 1977, attended Ohio Wesleyan for one year and then returned to his hometown to begin working at the Rockford Stone Quarry.

“I worked for a couple of years in a factory. When I was laid off there, the ‘town operator’ in Rockford had quit,” said Long. “I started working as the water and sewer operator, a job I pursued for five years at that time.

“I had to go somewhere else to get some experience working on an operations, sewer management team,” continued Long. “I was able to work with a team that offered that in Mercer County. I worked out of the Montezuma area at that time.”

When Long returned to Rockford, he was hired as the community’s first-ever administrator. During his tenure, Long, with the help of volunteers and other town administrators, was able to accomplish all that he had dreamed about for his home town.

They included a new water plant, a new wastewater plant, new water lines, new water tower, new sewer lines, and new streets. Other projects included a new subdivision, a new park system and a much more stable community of residents to attract others from outside.

“My goal was to get all of this done before I retire,” said Long. “I wanted to do all that I could to keep up my community.

“I wanted to get people from out of town to see what we have here,” continued Long. “People here volunteer and work hard to bring about our festivals and to donate time to work on our parks through grants and donations. “

With the community bicentennial taking place in 2020, Long said that hard work is going into constructing a veterans memorial which will be dedicated on Memorial Day, 2020.

Long and his wife, Dianna, who is employed at Laurel of Shane Hill, have three sons, Jacob, who lives in Celina, Andrew, who lives in Columbus and Dillon, who is joining the Air Force.

Long said the first few months following retirement will be spent remodeling a home, spending time with his family and continuing his faithfulness to New Horizons Church, which he has attended for 55 years.

“This has meant a lot to me. I love this community,” said Long. “People are so good and volunteer. This hasn’t been about me, it’s been about all of us working together.”