If Artie Ragland didn’t know his value to the City of Brownwood before Wednesday, he knows it know.

City employees and others gathered at the Depot Civic and Cultural Center to give Ragland — who worked as assistant director of the city’s Parks and Recreation —a sendoff into retirement.

Ragland worked for the city for about 39 1/2 years and was the city’s longest tenured employee. Ragland and his wife, Mariolis, are moving to Grand Prairie to be closer to other family.

Ragland was presented with a clock and plaque from the city.

“The city council sets budgets. We make some hard decisions sometimes, but it’s the people in this room that change lives,” Mayor Stephen Haynes said as he stood next to Ragland.

“You mow the grass, you keep people’s water clean, you protect us from the bad guys, you keep us for burning down, for an incredibly low price.

Haynes and other speakers gave some of the highlights of Ragland’s service, including the efforts of Ragland and Parks and Recreation workers in improving city parks and the Central Texas Veterans Memorial.

“Forty years … 40 years of dedication to a city that you love, and we know you love it, and we love you back,” Haynes said.

City council member Draco Miller said Ragland had been instrumental in helping with improvements at city facilities including Cecil Holman Park.

Harold Stieber, president of the Central Texas Veterans Memorial, presented Ragland with a certificate of appreciation. “He’s done a lot of work for us out there — him and his crew,” Stieber said. “They are definitely on our team. He’s just a super guy to work with — always positive.”