By Lena Mitchell/NEMS Daily Journal Corinth Bureau
CORINTH – After serving half of his 45 years working with the National Park Service at Shiloh National Military Park, Superintendent Woody Harrell is only a few weeks from retirement.
Many of the individuals who call him friend, colleague, collaborator, motivator, mentor, mastermind and a variety of other roles and relationships attended a retirement reception in his honor Friday at the Corinth Civil War Interpretive Center.
Harrell was presented with the text of a statement U.S. Sen. Thad Cochran read into the Congressional Record from the Senate floor this week commending him for his service.
One of his greatest supporters – Rosemary Williams, chairwoman of the Siege and Battle of Corinth Commission who worked closely with him in conceiving and bringing the interpretive center to reality as a unit of Shiloh – was unable to attend due to illness.
However, her husband, Sandy Williams, chairman of the C.A.R.E. Foundation, represented her at the event.
“We hate to see Woody go,” Williams said. “We wish him well in his retirement. He jokingly called Rosemary ‘the best boss he ever had.’ The way I saw it, though, she pushed him sometimes and he pushed her sometimes.”
Harrell was joined by his wife, Cynthia, and their two sons, Stephen and Adam.
Representatives of other National Park Service properties brought their personal and professional good wishes, including Vicksburg National Military Park and the Natchez Trace Parkway.
“Woody and I met about 10 years ago,” said Vicksburg Superintendent R. Michael Madell. “When I was superintendent at Little Rock Central High School we worked closely on a project. I have seen as much of him until I came to Vicksburg about two years ago, and I don’t see him nearly enough. I’ll miss him, but I’m glad he’s staying locally after retirement.”