TOWANDA - Tom Fairchild Jr. received a fond farewell Saturday during a retirement celebration.

Held at the Towanda American Legion, the event marked his departure from the post of Towanda Borough manager, which he has held for nearly three decades.

State Rep. Tina Pickett presented Fairchild with a citation from the state House of Representatives.

It reads, "Mr. Fairchild began his career with Towanda Borough in October 1983 and became borough manager in 1985. Under his leadership, improvements have been made to the borough's infrastructure and services to surrounding townships have expanded, improving the quality of life in central Bradford County. Throughout his service, Mr. Fairchild has demonstrated remarkable knowledge, ability, and integrity in carrying out his many responsibilities, thus earning the respect and gratitude of all those who received the benefit of his tireless devotion to duty."

Mark Christini, president of Towanda Borough Council, said he wanted to recognize Fairchild and his many contributions to the borough.

After reviewing Fairchild's positions over the years, he offered some words to describe the departing borough manager. They included "optimistic," "idealistic," "persevering," "humble," "patient," "ardent planner," "results-oriented," and "last but not least: tenacious with a never-give-up attitude." He said that Fairchild succeeded as borough manager because "his heart is in Towanda." He thanked Fairchild for his skill, vision, and dedication to the borough, saying he would be missed.

Towanda Municipal Authority Chairman Mike Walsh called Fairchild a "juggler." He explained that Fairchild always had a project going on, and came to the meeting with another project.

Tony Ventello, executive director of the Progress Authority, commended Fairchild for his vision for the area.

Meanwhile, Towanda Public Works supervisor Jim Haight told Fairchild that he would be missed, and praised him for his leadership role on projects.

Christini cited the many projects that he said occurred during Fairchild's tenure and with his leadership, including the successful completion of the Merrill Parkway project, which he noted was done in 2005.

The borough council president called this "an amazing investment of $15 million for road and water/sewer infrastructure improvements."

When asked for comment, Fairchild said this was a highlight of his career, noting it took a lot of perseverance.

He said that he had mixed emotions about retiring, noting that he would miss the people and the challenge of his job.

Fairchild said that he enjoyed his projects and liked helping people, and would miss it.

He also expressed confidence in the new borough manager, Kyle V. Lane, who works as a supervisor in Frontier Communications' Towanda office. Recently, Lane was offered the combined job of Towanda Borough manager and manager of the Towanda Municipal Authority, now that Fairchild is retiring from both posts.

Fairchild also paid tribute to other people, such as his hero, George Snell, as well as his mentors, Dr. John Glabb and Bill Beamer, both of whom Christini said helped shape Fairchild into an outstanding borough manager. Fairchild was also complimentary of his associates, Ventello and Bill Brutzman. In addition, Fairchild recognized others including Pickett, Haight, and borough street foreman John Miller, as well as his family: his father, Tom Fairchild Sr. and friend, Jean Crawford; his mother, Flossie Troutwine, and stepdad, Jack; his daughter, Mazie; and his friend/partner, Kim Kulick.

Eric Hrin can be reached at (570) 297-5251; email: reviewtroy@thedailyreview.com.