PIQUA — Kay Anderson shed a few tears Friday afternoon during her retirement party at the Piqua Post of the Ohio State Highway Patrol (OSP). Anderson first went to work at the Patrol Post on December 28, 1987, as the administrative assistant for the post commander. Now 31 years later, she has worked for eight Post Commanders, several of whom were on hand to bid farewell to what one of her former bosses referred to as the “glue that held things together.”
Initially Anderson worked for Lt. Frosty Freeman. Freeman, now retired, was unable to attend due to health concerns but did call earlier in the week to wish her well.
Freeman was followed by Lt. Dan Dickerson. Dickerson is also retired from the OSP, but was in attendance.
Dickerson was followed by Lt. Dan Lay. Lay has also retired and was not in attendance.
Anderson’s other former bosses are all still on active duty. They include Lt. Rick Albers, Lt. (now captain) Dan Springs, Lt. Jon Payer, Lt. Bill Peck, and the current Post Commander Joe Gebhart.
Former Post Commander and now District Staff Lt. Rick Albers presented Anderson with an OSP commemorative license plate. The OSP District Headquarters is located at the Piqua Post.
Former Post Commander, now District Commander, Springs presented Anderson’s husband Kenton Anderson with the Spouse’s Certificate of Appreciation.
“I almost always present these certificates to wives,” Springs said. “A spouse’s support is essential in this line of work, and I know that your support has been essential for Kay,” Springs stated before shaking Kenton Anderson’s hand and then giving him a hug to the delight of those in attendance.
Gebhart praised Anderson for her service.
“For 31 years, Kay has gone above and beyond the call of duty. She’s volunteered to work OVI checkpoints. She’s annually volunteered for the Shelby County Fraternal Order of Police Shop With a Cop program. Most importantly,” Gebhart said, “she’s made all eight Post Commanders look good, and for some of us, that’s been a challenge!”
“I never had a single day when I didn’t want to go to work,” Anderson said. “Every day was different, and that’s one of the reasons I’ve enjoyed the job so much.”
“The Patrol is my second family,” Anderson continued. “When I was stricken with cancer in 2005, they helped me in so many ways – most importantly with their support. When my husband was injured and hospitalized, I received cards for gas, for food, for groceries. I’m going to miss that camaraderie.”
Attending the retirement reception were retired OSP Superintendent Col. Richard “Butch” Collins and his wife, retired OSP Major Brenda Collins. Representing the Ohio State Highway Patrol Retiree’s Association, they presented Anderson with her membership card.
Collins was a sergeant at the Piqua Post early in his career, and he and his wife resided in Sidney. Collins drew laughter when he told Anderson that he and his wife were paying her first year’s dues.
“It set us back $12!” he said.
Major Marla Gaskill attended the reception, representing Col. Paul Pride, current OSP Superintendent. Gaskill presented Anderson with a framed certificate, and expressed her personal appreciation for Anderson’s long service.
Also attending the reception was Sidney Mayor Mike Barhorst, who presented Anderson with a proclamation naming Friday as Kay M. Anderson Day in Sidney. Like Barhorst, Anderson graduated from Fairlawn High School.
The proclamation noted “Kay M. Anderson accepted the challenge of packing files, furnishings and supplies to move to temporary quarters when the former post was demolished in 2003, working out of boxes while the new building was being constructed, then packing again to move to the new post when construction was completed the following year.”
Anderson interrupted the reading of the proclamation to note there were a couple of pesky mice which packed themselves and made the trip back and forth, along with the files.
Not content to put her feet up and truly retire, Anderson began training for her next career on Monday. She flew to Las Vegas on Sunday and began training to be a stewardess for Allegiant Air on Monday.
“I think I’m really going to enjoy it,” Anderson said. “I’ll be home every night. I’ll fly for two weeks and then be off for two weeks. It’ll allow me to stay busy and still have time to do lots of things with my family. And, I’ll be able to fly anywhere for free!”
During the reception, Anderson reflected that she was afraid that her OSP career might have been cut short. “I had only been on the job a couple of days when on my way home, I was picked up for speeding in Sidney. When I got to work the next morning, everyone knew.
“I wasn’t in the office more than a few minutes when Sergeant Bill Bradley called me into his office. I knew I was going to be fired. Instead, he said, ‘Kay, you’re not going to get your first paycheck for four weeks. Let me pay your ticket for you.’ That’s what working here has been like – family. I’m really going to miss it!”