The Amesbury Beat: Honoring a community asset

One of the things I enjoy about writing "The Amesbury Beat" is being able to mention some of the people who make up our community.

A lot happens behind the scenes in every city or town, which the public sometimes takes for granted. I wanted to recognize one of those behind-the-scenes guys in this week’s column as he prepares to retire from the Amesbury Department of Public Works this month.

Often, it’s tough to find the right words to describe or recognize someone but with city mechanic Teddy Stanwood, it was easy.

Teddy Stanwood is a legend and I was honored to have worked with him since his arrival in Amesbury in 1995. I had just been assigned to the dayshift and placed in charge of cruiser maintenance when Teddy was hired to help out at the garage, taking care of the emergency fleet.

His part-time assignment quickly became full-time as mechanic George Millikin retired and his talents were discovered. Teddy could fix anything: big rigs, tractors, the ambulances and even the circa 1960 grader or snowblower.

He even kept the animal control officer van on the road for a decade after it should have headed to the scrapyard. In terms of the police fleet, he assured every unit was ready to handle any emergency response.

He also looked out for the taxpayer, taking advantage of warranty coverage and always negotiating the best deals for parts and repairs.

Teddy is an encyclopedia of antiques and hot rods; he knows everything about the classics, inside and out. Whether building his own ride, searching for an elusive accessory or tracking down an authentic radio knob, no one can miss Teddy’s passion for the classics.

He was instrumental for decades, helping to recruit antiques for the National Night Out and only wanted a couple of Old Neighborhood hot dogs as compensation. Teddy is a reliable source for dining options, too: sharing reviews of his favorites such as Lena’s Seafood, Hodgies specials, a dinner at The Hungry Traveler and, of course, Salisbury Beach Pizza.

Teddy is also a big fan of music, having been fortunate to grow up during the early years of rock 'n' roll. His fondness was not limited to the radio; he picked up the drumsticks and was a member of The Shadows of Time.

Originally a “garage band," the group entertained locally for decades and even recorded a 45 vinyl and compact disc in 2002. Any time you walked into the public works garage, you’d be greeted by the sounds of Oldies 103, Cool 94.1 or The Shark 102 FM.

He’s a music buff, too, full of pop music trivia, recalling who performed any song and when.

Teddy is an authentic nice guy, everyone likes Teddy! His outgoing personality is contagious and guaranteed to make you smile.

His stories, sense of humor, opinions, contributions and pride in his family made for so many conversations over the years; memories to be treasured.

His dedication to the community, working through any illness, terrible weather conditions and countless hours to assure equipment was fixed and safe for the operators to get every job done, still as he approaches the age of 74.

His guidance, mentorship and professionalism to co-workers and friends will be with us forever. I often joked with Teddy that he could not retire before I did because no one could replace his commitment.

Whenever we needed him, he was on the way to solve a maintenance problem. Teddy is one of the people you don’t see in the spotlight but he has kept the wheels rolling on the city for the last 26 years.

I’d like to wish Teddy a very happy, long and healthy retirement and, of course, say thanks, for his dedication and friendship.

I’m sure he’ll enjoy his new career, spending more time with his cars, dining out with his wife, and tapping to the golden oldies.

 

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