It’s not uncommon these days for young people to hop from job to job every few months or years. On the other hand, some find work they like and a place where they fit well  and stay there for a long, long time.
Steve McFarland retired Friday after more than 40 years with the Heartland Rural Electric Cooperative, Inc., Girard.
“We’re sorry to see Steve go,” said Dale Coomes, Heartland CEO. “He’s a valuable asset we’ll miss, very loyal and dedicated.”
McFarland has been a front desk member service representative for the past three or four years, but said he had worked in numerous other positions over the decades.
“I  started here partime in 1970 while I was in college,” he said. “I went to Fort Scott Community College and Pittsburg State University both. I went on full time in 1973.”
He said that he started as assistant material manager.
“Then the man I was under retired, so I took his job,” McFarland said. “I did purchasing, work orders, staking out yards and so on. For one summer I work with a line crew, and that was real beneficial in my work. Then I knew what those guys did.”
Heartland Rural Electric crews have assisted other areas of the state in cases of emergency, and McFarland has gone along with them.
“When they had ice storms out west, I’d go help,” he said. “It was kind of fun, in a way.”
Working at the front desk has also been fun, in a very different way.
“A whole lot of real good people come in and they’re like buddies now,” McFarland said. “Some of them call and ask for me. I’ve really enjoyed the people I work with. They’re all good people.”
He’s seen a lot of changes in the past 40-plus years, including the rise of automation and use of computers.
“I’ve seen a lot of linemen come and go, and a lot of people I’ve worked with have retired,” McFarland said. “A lot of them will be coming in for my retirement luncheon.”
He was born in Girard, the son of J.E. “Jake” and Millicent “Mitzi” McFarland, but lived in St. Paul for a time while his father taught there. The elder McFarland also taught at Girard High School, was also a head basketball coach and head football coach there, and served as GHS principal from 1982 until his retirement in 1992.
“We moved back to Girard when I was in the fourth grade,” McFarland said.
He’s got a few plans for his retirement.
“I like to golf,” McFarland said. “I used to hunt, but I don’t do that any more. I used to fish, and I will start doing that again. The big thing is more time with family, and I’m looking forward to that.”