EDITORIAL: Bob Stevens — job well done

Jul. 16, 2014 @ 05:00 AM

Broadway is the much smaller of Lee County’s two municipalities, and its population of 1,267 is a fraction of that of its counterpart, Sanford.

If you ask residents of Broadway how they feel about its size and feel, we think many of them agree that they’re just fine with their quaint town — a place many have referred to as “Mayberry-like,” a reference to the fictional (though based on the very real Mt. Airy, N.C.) television home of The Andy Griffith Show.

So it’s small, but noteworthy. Broadway boasts of a long line of notable individuals who’ve made a difference in the community and in Lee County over the years, a list includes the town’s mayors — M.A. McLeod, A.P. Thomas, Vernon Stevens, S.H. Rosser, Leonard Rosser, H.A. Thomas, Thelma Sloan, Ralph Hunter, Henry Green, Harold Harrington and current mayor Donald Andrews Jr.

And while many people have given their heart and soul for the betterment of the town, another name — that of Bob Stevens —would have to be near the top of the list.

Stevens was born and raised in Broadway. He was a part of the family business, Stevens Milling Company. He’s served as a town commissioner. And he’s currently serving as the town manager, a position he’s held for 14 years. Stevens has announced he’ll be retiring in October from that position.

How do you replace someone with Stevens’ pedigree and ties to the community?

It’s more than just Stevens’ ties that will be lost. Mayor Andrews told The Herald last week that Stevens has been a superb town manager “because he goes above and beyond.”

“It’s not only a job to him,” Andrews said. “Broadway’s his hometown, so he wants to see it do well. He takes a lot of pride in it.”

That job includes everything from analyzing a budget to repairing broken sewage lines to picking up trash and dealing with citizens upset about one thing or another.

Stevens has handled the job with class and dignity, all the while serving a grateful community with a passion that can only come from being ingrained in all that Broadway stands for.

To say he will be difficult to replace is an understatement.

“It hasn’t been all roses, but at the end of the day, if you think you’re doing your best to help folks out, that’s what it’s all about,” he said. “And I hope I’ve done that.”

Thank you, Bob Stevens, for a job well done — and for being such a caring person for your home community.