Cruitt and plaque

Shelby County Board Chairman David Cruitt retired at the final Shelby County Board Meeting of the year on Wednesday. He is presented with a plaque thanking him for his -year leadership. County Board Member Dennis Drnjevic presents Cruitt with the plaque.

After a decade on the Shelby County Board – five years as chairman – David Cruitt (District 10: Shelyville, 1, 6, 7) retired on Wednesday at the final board meeting of the year.

“There were mixed emotions for sure,” said Cruitt. “There is a lot of stress that goes with it. Still, I’ve enjoyed it and I will miss all the people.”

At the end of the regular December board meeting, the board and employees presented Cruitt with a plaque.

“It was very special,” Cruitt said. “I had no idea that they were going to do that. It was emotional. It was heart-warming and I will always remember that.”

Cruitt retired for a few reasons.

“My wife, Nancy, and I want to do more traveling. There are a lot of meetings in this position. I’m also vice-chairman on the board of Good Shepherd Hospital. We have grandkids in North Carolina and it is hard to get away and I have to miss a meeting. When I take on a job, I want to do it well. I’ll soon be 72 and this will allow me to do that.”

One more reason Cruitt says he decided to retire early was that the future is uncertain.

“I have a brother who is five years younger than I am and he retired last March,” Cruitt said. “Twelve days later he was diagnosed with a brain tumor. He and his wife had trips planned and they had to be put on hold. You just never know what tomorrow brings, so why wait.”

Fortunately for Cruitt’s brother, he had surgery and is doing well. But, Cruitt said, “It makes you think.”

Although Cruitt is retiring with a year on his term, he believes the county will be in capable hands. According to Cruitt, former Board Chairman Bruce Cannon had a career change and stepped down to vice chairman, and Cruitt became chairman. After 5 years, Cannon has made that business transition and is prepared to offer his name for chairman once again.

Cannon is the temporary board chairman until the January meeting, when the board will select a new chairman. The board will also have to appoint a member to fill Cruitt’s vacancy on the board until the November election.

Cruitt says he found out more about county government that he didn’t know before.

“It was very educational,” Cruitt said. “I learned a lot about county government. I’ve grown to appreciate it. I mean all the work the employees do. Unless you see it, you don’t know. It’s not run by itself. In several meetings I have with other county board chairmen we get compliments for how our county does some things. There are many parts working together.”

Prior being on the Shelby County Board, Cruiit was the Construction Manager for Howell Paving, which had bought out Prosser’s. He came on the board in 2010, then retired from Howell in 2013.

When asked if there were any projects that stood out during his tenure, he didn’t hesitate.

“The new roof on the courthouse,” Cruitt said. “ It had to be done to protect this building. It was a major undertaking and now it is done. I like it. It’s gonna last for 50 years. That stands out!”

Cruitt mentioned a couple more items.

“Getting the 911 merged with Shelby County and Christian County was a very good things,” Cruitt said. “Hopefully, Eagle Creek will come back to life. It has been cleared away and they will begin advertising the first of the year for new development.”

John Curtis can be reached at john.curtis@shelbyvilledailyunion.com

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