Council honors SHA Engineer Donnie Drewer for 55 years of service

CAMBRIDGE — Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports said, “we saved the best for last …” when he and other Maryland Department of Transportation officials visited the Dorchester County Council on Tuesday night.

The sit down at the council meeting was part of the final stop of the MDOT Annual Statewide Transportation Tour that started Sept. 20 and included all 23 counties and Baltimore City.

At the meeting, Secretary Ports announced the retirement of State Highway Administration District Engineer Donnie Drewer after 55 years of service.

As district engineer, Mr. Drewer worked in an area that covers Dorchester, Somerset, Wicomico and Worcester counties. His service predates MDOT and the State Highway Administration.

He started with the State Roads Commission as a construction inspector. He worked in construction for many years then moved to maintenance and worked as resident maintenance engineer. He became assistant district engineer in charge of construction and then district engineer in 1988.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff Standing at left, State Highway Administration District Engineer Donnie Drewer was one of many Maryland Department of Transportation officials to attend the Tuesday Dorchester County Council meeting during the last stop of a statewide tour. Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports announced Mr. Drewer’s retirement after 55 years of service that predated MDOT. All of the Dorchester Council members spoke highly of Mr. Drewer and his work in the county. Council President Ricky Travers presented him with a golf club.

Dorchester Banner/Bob Zimberoff
Standing at left, State Highway Administration District Engineer Donnie Drewer was one of many Maryland Department of Transportation officials to attend the Tuesday Dorchester County Council meeting during the last stop of a statewide tour. Deputy Transportation Secretary Jim Ports announced Mr. Drewer’s retirement after 55 years of service that predated MDOT. All of the Dorchester Council members spoke highly of Mr. Drewer and his work in the county. Council President Ricky Travers presented him with a golf club.

After leaving the meeting Tuesday evening, he said, “I loved every minute of it. I can’t think of a day that I got up to work that I have dreaded going to work. Not many people can say that but I can say that. It’s been a good ride. It always helps to have such nice folks to work with.”

Mr. Drewer said he continually worked with polite, patient and understanding people on the Lower Shore.

“I know that everybody knows this is Donnie Drewer’s very, very last CTP (Consolidated Transport Program) meeting,” Deputy Secretary Ports said in announcing Mr. Drewer’s retirement. “We saved the best for last, Dorchester and Donnie. Obviously he is going to be missed by everybody I’m sure, certainly me.”

Mr. Ports announced that Jay Meredith, of Dorchester County who was in attendance, will replace Mr. Drewer as district engineer.
Every member of the county council shared their kind thoughts with Mr. Drewer.

Councilman William Nichols said he has worked with Mr. Drewer for “… a quarter of a century.”

“You always came in here and you had your facts straight,” Councilman Nichols said. “It’s been a really, really big pleasure working with you. We didn’t get everything we wanted, but I tell you what, we got our fair share. I owe it to you, to the state. No matter what administration was in here, you always rose above all that. … You did what’s best for the people here on the Eastern Shore. Me personally, I appreciate that.”

Council President Ricky Travers presented a golf club to Mr. Drewer with a plaque enscribed, “Best wishes on your retirement. Thank you for your service. Dorchester County Government 2016.”

“I want to say thank you. Thank you for all you’ve done for this county and the entire region,” Mr. Travers said. “Fifty-five years, fifty-five years of state service — everybody needs to take their hat off to somebody who gives 55 years. I can tell you, you have left a legacy.”
In a humorous moment before a crowded council meeting, Mr. Travers asked a question that led to a laugh from most everyone in the room.

“You have seen many, many changes throughout your years of service here on the Shore,” Mr. Travers said, “How many secretaries have you been through?”

“All of them,” Mr. Drewer answered to laughter and some applause.

The deputy secretary acknowledged the truth of Mr. Drewer’s statement.

“That’s true, it was the Roads Commission when you started,” Mr. Ports said. “He’s right, all of them starting with Harry Hughes.”

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