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Posted: March 23, 2013 7:03 p.m.

Bye, Tommy

We have bittersweet feelings as we ponder the retirement of longtime Recreation Director Tommy Hailey.

We’re glad he has the opportunity to step down after nearly 25 years of work at a time when he is still young enough to enjoy many relaxing days of golf and other physical activities that are easy on the mind.

However, we’re sorry because we have a feeling it’s going to be hard to replace someone who built up a department from six people and a few parks to 17 full-time employees and 18 parks and 21 facilities. Hailey oversaw the addition of Turner Lake Park, which, without question, is one of the finest in parks and facilities in the entire state.

Hailey is a quiet man, who has developed a park system in Newton County that is second to none, and he left one of the most significant achievements for last. The Miracle League Field is being built, which is an accomplishment for a project that appeared dead in the water just six months ago.

On behalf of the thousands of families his efforts have touched, we wish him well and we give fair warning to all those who dare challenge him on the local links — you will probably lose. Hailey’s been spending years developing that star baseball swing into a mean golf swing.

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