City worker adds ‘splash of color and dash of happy’

Laura Eglen doesn’t mind waking up early for work. She likes getting downtown before the hustle and bustle of the day begins.

“It’s quiet, and I’m able to get a lot done,” she said.

Working for the Seymour Department of Public Works for the past 16 years, Eglen is a familiar face to those who spend any time downtown.

She is in charge of maintenance tasks that many people overlook or take for granted, such as changing the liners in the big round trash receptacles, trimming overgrown trees, using a leaf blower to keep sidewalks clear of debris and spraying weed killer along the sidewalks.

“It’s what I hired in for and what I’ve been doing ever since,” Eglen, 52, said. “One time, I put in for a job with recycling, but I was told I was doing too good of a job down here, and they didn’t want to move me.”

Her favorite job is planting and taking care of the 46 flower pots located throughout downtown. She plants them twice a year.

“I think they brighten up the downtown,” she said while pulling a few weeds from one flower pot. “People seem to really like them.”

The flowers can take up a lot of her time depending on the weather.

“This year, with all the rain, I haven’t had to do much,” she said. “But some years, when it’s hot and dry, I’m out here watering every day.”

Besides the flower pots, she’s also in charge of landscaping the traffic island in front of Seymour City Hall.

“The mayor gave me an idea of what he wanted,” Eglen said of the island, which currently has purple and white wave petunias planted in an S pattern for Seymour.

But Mayor Craig Luedeman gives all the credit to Eglen.

“She goes out of her way to use her green thumb to make sure the downtown looks awesome,” Luedeman said. “She’s constantly doing little things here and there that make a big difference.”

During the holidays, she has been known to decorate the area with art made from recycled items.

“I have fun,” she said.

Seymour Main Street also has taken notice of Eglen’s efforts.

“She does a fantastic job,” Main Street board member Ruth Ann Rebber said. “Her work gives downtown a splash of color and a dash of happy. Main Street really appreciates her work.”

But Eglen said she doesn’t expect a pat on the back for her work, adding, “I don’t think I do anything special.”

Luedeman said he wishes he had more employees like Eglen.

“She has a lot of pride in her job and this community,” he said.

With growing interest in the downtown and more businesses locating here, Luedeman said, it’s important to keep up the momentum.

“She’s improving the downtown little by little,” he said.

[sc:pullout-title pullout-title=”Laura Eglen” ][sc:pullout-text-begin]

Name: Laura Eglen

Age: 52

Home: Brownstown

Job: Has spent the past 16 years working for Seymour Department of Public Works. She is responsible for maintenance tasks downtown, including landscaping, planting and taking care of flowers, changing liners in trash cans, trimming trees and using a leaf blower to keep sidewalks clean of debris.