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SEPTA Honors Retirees

Kristin Geiger
Press Officer

"Because of your hard work and dedication, SEPTA is what it is today. Every one of you gave this company a name, a personality and I'm always impressed with the number of employees we honor with 40 plus years of service," SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said to a crowd of recently retired SEPTA employees. The 237 retirees were honored at a grand farewell luncheon in SEPTA's Market East Station. Collectively, the group amassed over 6,800 years of service to the Authority.

This was the largest retiree class that SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey said he ever had the opportunity to address.

"This is bittersweet because you're saying goodbye to a coworker, saying goodbye to friends and we're saying goodbye to history. Without you, we wouldn't be the successful institution we are today." SEPTA's Assistant General Manager of Human Resources, Susan Van Buren said.

During the ceremony, Lawrence Cotton, who retired after 44 years, 4 months and 4 days, was recognized for having the most service hours to the Authority. Cotton started working in SEPTA's revenue department right out of high school in 1967 before transferring to the claims department in 1968. As he began his career, the Vietnam War raged overseas and Cotton decided to enlist in the Marine Corps. After serving 18 months in the War, Lawrence returned to SEPTA's transit division as a trolley operator in Germantown.

In those days, the Vietnam Vet said that the trolleys were tough to stop and were often referred to as iron horses. After two years of trolley operation, Cotton became a bus operator. He fondly recalled his career as a SEPTA bus operator and said that it gave him the most pride. "My bus was like an office on wheels. It gave me an opportunity to help people," he said. And when Cotton looked back on his entire 44 year, 4 month and 4 day career, he added, "It was great to work for a company that appreciates you and shows it. Forty-four years went fast and I had fun."

After the award for the most years of service was presented, Assistant General Manager of Engineering and Construction Jeffrey Knueppel and Chief Control Center Officer Ronald Hopkins unveiled the latest additions to SEPTA's "Wall of Honor". The two plaques list the name of each recently retired employee and will be hung at SEPTA headquarters.

SEPTA's general manager, assistant general managers and union officials also lined up across the front of the "ballroom at Market East" to personally congratulate each retiree.

Time spent "working" for SEPTA doesn't have to end with retirement. Retirees, have an opportunity to continue SEPTA service by signing up for the Authority's volunteer based Concierge program. Through the program, retirees have an opportunity to utilize their extensive SEPTA knowledge at the Flower Show, themed holiday, customer service and city-wide/regional events and special projects.

The annual luncheon serves as a special occasion for SEPTA to recognize the exceptional commitment these employees made throughout their careers to enhance the quality of service provided to customers in the region.

Retirees were honored during a special ceremony at SEPTA's Market East Station.

A cake commemorated the occasion.

SEPTA General Manager Joseph Casey and Assistant General Manager of Human Resources Susan Van Buren mingled with retirees.

Lawrence Cotton who retired after 44 years, 4 months and 4 days, was recognized for having the most service hours to the Authority .

SEPTA Chief Engineer Jeff Knueppel and Chief Control Center Officer Ronald Hopkins unveiled the "Wall of Honor".