A job well done, a retirement well deserved

Keith Wardlaw spent decades improving Laramie’s parks and keeping pests out of Laramie’s backyards, but now he’s scheduled to spend a lot more time in his own backyard, the Laramie Parks and Recreation director said.

During the Laramie City Council regular meeting Tuesday, the council applauded Wardlaw’s career as they watched a presentation about his time with the city.

As the Laramie Parks and Recreation mosquito crew supervisor, Wardlaw helped the city create and sustain an Integrated Pest Management program among other achievements, Feezer said.

“Over the past 27 years and five months, Keith has been a fantastic employee,” he told the council while flipping through a slide show of Keith on the job. “He really is the employee I hope to be like the most.”

Wardlaw started with the city nearly three decades ago as a park maintenance crew member, but through the years, he worked his way up to management, Feezer said.

Mayor Andi Summerville said the crew supervisor’s engaging presentations would be sorely missed in the council chambers.

“As a young council member, I’d been on only a couple months the first time I learned about mosquitoes,” Summerville said.

“(Wardlaw) came to City Council and made this amazing presentation. The whole thing lives in my memory, but when he walked up with the traps and tray of mosquitoes and dropped the whole thing on the dais, that was a moment that will forever live in infamy.”

She added Wardlaw’s department received full funding that year.

Feezer said the crew supervisor’s passion for pest control, safety and training was readily apparent for students who attended Wardlaw’s seminars.

“It’s a fantastic part of what (Wardlaw) brings to the table,” Feezer said.

Wardlaw thanked the council and city management for allowing him the ability to fulfill his duties without abundant interference.

“We certainly made an impact in how mosquito control is done in the Laramie Basin,” he said. “It’s been a work of a lot for a lot of years — a lot of love and a lot of tears to get where we’re at today.”

Feezer concluded the presentation with a picture of a young, curly haired Wardlaw flexing for the camera while wearing a revealing toga. Jokingly apologizing for the picture, Feezer said Wardlaw’s wife, Mary Kay, made the director use the picture.

A retirement party for Wardlaw is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Thursday at the Laramie Recreation Center Conference Room. The event is open to the public.

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