She’s been a fixture in the offices of the Town of Benson for 22 years. Now it’s time for Connie Sorrell to sit back, relax and enjoy her retirement.
“I’m excited,” she said with her trademark broad smile that has greeted many to the town headquarters. “I’m excited to move on to the next chapter of my life, I’m just so excited.”
There was also a retirement present of sorts from her son, Cody, that added to her excitement.
“I found out I’m going to have my second grandbaby,” she said. “So I’m ready to start spoiling.”
When she looks back on the years she’s spent doing everything from writing out town paperwork to keeping minutes at the board of commissioners’ meetings, Ms. Sorrell believes getting the job was something that was meant to be.
Ms. Sorrell, who proudly calls herself a Prayer Warrior, thinks there was a little divine intervention taking place when she was hired.
“God sent me here,” she said. “I prayed about it.”
Before she took the job, she was working for the State of North Carolina, driving back and forth to Raleigh, then a unique offer came from the longtime town manager of Benson, Keith Langdon.
“I was working for the state and this job was only part time,” she said. “Then Keith Langdon said, ‘Connie would you come if we made it full time.’”
She immediately accepted the job and knew she was going to finally be able to enjoy her family as well as her work.
“I was excited because then I could go to ballgames with my two sons and I didn’t have to drive in that Raleigh traffic,” she said with a chuckle. “That was wonderful and it was a Godsend.”
That was in 1995 when she was officially hired as an administrative support specialist to Mr. Langdon. It wasn’t until 2003 that she assumed the duties of the town clerk.
During the course of her tenure she represented Benson in several ways. She represented the town on statewide committees with the UNC School of Government and the North Carolina League of Municipalities.
With all of that in mind, her most vivid and cherished memories will be from something almost opposite the hustle and bustle of public service. She considers the people who have been like a second family to her as the most enjoyable aspect.
“The ladies here and the people I work with were family,” she said. “They always have been and the people are the best part of it.”
When you ask her what’s been the most outstanding memory, she goes back to the people she’s became associated with along the way. Whether they were co-workers, town residents or someone looking for something, Ms. Sorrell considers them all a great and unforgettable part of her life.
“The people I work with in Benson, and not just the people that work for the town, but the people in Benson,” the rural Dunn-area resident said. “Everybody’s always been so good to me and I’ve felt like a part of Benson since the day I stepped in that door.”
Benson Mayor William Massengill says Ms. Sorrell will missed in the office that she has become so much a part of over the years.
“We will miss Connie a lot, she’s been a great asset to the team,” the mayor said. “She’s been the clerk since I’ve been serving on the board. I just appreciate her positive attitude and her upbeat spirit.”
On the other hand, the mayor is also happy for his longtime co-worker and friend. “At the same time, I’m happy for her that she’s going to be able to retire, enjoy time with her family and do other things,” he said. “It’s a mixed day. I’m sad to see her go and I’m so happy for her personally.”
The mayor and the town board of commissioners were able to give Ms. Sorrell one final honor. Just before her replacement, Terry Hobgood, was sworn in, Mayor Massengill read a proclamation in her honor.
As he read, Ms. Sorrell could barely hold back the tears.
“Constance M. Sorrell provided a high level of professionalism throughout her career, which truly represents the mission and vision of the Town of Benson,” the mayor read. “Connie gave her time so generously to each and every endeavor and clearly takes pride in everything she does.”
As the mayor continued to praise her and her efforts during the meeting, Ms. Sorrell could finally not hold back her show of emotion as the final paragraph was read.
“Now, therefore be it resolved, I William W. Massengill Jr., mayor, by virtue of the authority vested in me as mayor of the Town of Benson and on behalf of the board of commissioners and all the citizens of Benson do hereby declare this the 13th day of December 2016 as Connie Sorrell Day.”