By Lynette Norris
Robert “Red” Henderson, originally from Hamilton County, first started with the Madison County Road Department Sept. 14, 1981, as a truck driver. In the interim, he has also worked as a mowing crew supervisor, a field specialist and assistant road department coordinator, the position currently held by Lonnie Thigpen.
Since New Year’s Day of 2008, Henderson has been Madison County’s Road and Bridge Coordinator, overseeing a department of several crews responsible for the road system throughout Madison County. The last day of November is his last official day with the Road Department, but his last day in the office is coming up a little sooner, because he has to use up some accumulated leave time.
After that, assistant road department coordinator Lonnie Thigpen, 21 years with the department as of Jan. 1 of next year, will officially take up the reins as the new Madison County Road and Bridge Department Coordinator.
Before Henderson began with the Madison County Road Department, he had worked at different times in both counties, selling insurance in Madison, or working for the Forestry Service in Hamilton. He also had family ties to Madison, and worked with one of his uncles in Greenville, running a sawdust-spreading business. Another uncle, I.T. Carter, was pastor of the First Baptist Church of Lee for many years.
Henderson has three sons: Jeff, a retired Marine who lives in Colorado Springs; Greg, who lives in Arizona; and David, manager of the Smokin’ Pig in Valdosta, who will soon be opening a second Smokin’ Pig in Macon.
For his retirement, he says he has no real plans for a couple of months, then maybe something like going up to the mountains.
Of his 30 years and two months with the Madison County Road Department, Henderson says he has thoroughly enjoyed it. “We’ve got some good employees out here,” he said. “We’ve got some good help in the office, and some good people in Madison; I hope I made the road department a little better, and I hope Mr. Thigpen makes it a little better after I leave.”
Before Henderson leaves for good, however, the County Coordinator Allen Cherry has organized a luncheon/retirement party for him on Nov. 2, which he described as a bit of a roast. Because, he told Henderson, “After 30 years, somebody’s bound to know something about you!”