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Hedrick lauded as retirement nears

Retiring St. Francois County Clerk Mark Hedrick reads aloud a plaque presented to him by the St. Francois County Commission upon the occasion of his retirement taking place at the end of the month. Moments later, however, the emotional Hedrick handed the plaque back to Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher to finish reading to those in attendance.

St. Francois County Clerk Mark Hedrick, who will be retiring from his long-held position at the end of this month, was honored by the county commission with a presentation of a plaque and words of gratitude at the county governing body’s meeting Tuesday morning.

Hedrick was presented the plaque by Presiding Commissioner Harold Gallaher saying, “Mark, we have a certificate for you!”

Hedrick replied, “You do? What for?”

Associate Commissioner Gay Wilkinson jokingly said, “For two gallons of gas!”

Gallaher joined Hedrick at the front of the commissioners chamber and said, “There was a whole list of stuff that I had to shorten because it wouldn’t fit on one plaque, you know. Mark, thank you so much. Thank you for your work. We love you and appreciate you and we’re going to miss you.”

Gallaher handed the plaque to the emotional Hedrick to read aloud to those present. Gallaher continued reading the words after Hedrick couldn’t go on.

The plaque reads: “Mark Hedrick, St. Francois County Clerk: Husband, Father and Grandfather; U.S. Army Veteran of the Vietnam War; Bismarck City Administrator (1986-1994); Board Member of Bismarck R-V School; 23 plus years of St. Francois County service – Presiding Commissioner and County Clerk; Missouri Association of Counties District Director and Board Member; Strong United Way supporter and officer; Babe Ruth Hall of Fame member-40 years of service.

“The St. Francois County Commission hereby acknowledge and express our sincere appreciation for Mark’s devoted service upon his retirement of December 31, 2018. We wish Mark the very best in his well-deserved retirement.”

All three commissioners, Gallaher, Wilkinson and Associate Commissioner Patrick Mullins signed the certificate.

“Thank you all,” Hedrick said. “I appreciate it.”

Gallaher said, “Mark, we appreciate you. Thank you so much.”

Wilkinson said, “This was kind of an ambush because if he knew this was coming, he wouldn’t have been here!”

A jovial Hedrick replied, “No, I never miss a meeting!”

Gallaher jokingly said, “By the way, on the list of stuff, he’s only missed two sick days in the 114 years he’s been here.”

The lighthearted presentation ended with a standing ovation for Hedrick led by the commissioners.

On Jan. 1, Republican Kevin Engler will take on the role of county clerk. He defeated his Democratic opponent, Andrew Young, in the November election. 

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