City says 'thanks' to Tom Giarusso

Wednesday, January 19, 2005
Berryville Mayor Tim McKinney hands a proclamation in appreciation of 24 years of service to Tom Giarusso, while city workers laughed as the two men joked with each other. The mayor proclaimed last week as 'Tom Giarusso Week,' in appreciation of Giarusso's years of tending the lawns, parks and fountains on the square. Giarusso retired last week, but McKinney said he hopes to lure him back because of his dedication.

BERRYVILLE ---- City workers participated last week in a jovial retirement ceremony for Tom Giarusso, who has served the city tending parks, lawns and the Public Square for the past 24 years.

As the workers gathered, Mayor Tim McKinney kidded Giarusso, who was born in Boston, that the only reason he was retiring was because the Boston Red Sox finally won the World Series last year after a "curse" of more than 85 years.

Giarusso a jovial man who could be seen around town at his fulltime job since 1981 mowing lawns and cleaning the parks, and occasionally out-working the vandals who dumped soap causing bubbles in the fountains.

Mayor McKinney proclaimed Jan. 9 through 15 as "Tom Giarusso Week" because Tom "Significantly contributed to the enhancement and beautification of the Berryville Public Square, and the performance of his duties have always been characterized by an obvious dedication to getting the job well done and being appreciated by not only the merchants on the Square and the citizens of Berryville, but also all the visitors who have traveled through our lovely town (and those persons, who shall remain nameless, who have attempted to clean the fountains from time to time)," a referral to the bubble bandits.

McKinney also said in the proclamation that "although there have been many close calls, Tom has managed to drive his lawnmower all over the streets of Berryville without incident during his 24 years."

It also note that Tom has announced his plans to retire on Tuesday, Jan. 11, and in spite of all things involving the Red Sox and New England Patriots, he will be greatly missed by the City of Berryville staff.

Giarusso and his, wife, Valerie, live in the Osage area, and Tom didn't indicate his plans for retirement.

McKinney said, "Tom usually goes into hibernation in the winter, and we're hoping he might come back part-time when he gets bored."

Tom and his wife Valerie, drove through town in 1981, and he said, "I got a good feeling about this place."

He said he found a house and 65 acres for $6,500, and "I gave them a check," and the rest, as they say, is history.

Tom had travelled half-way around the world, and served in the Army under Gen. George Patton in the European theater during World War II, and then served in the Asian theater before the war ended.

Tom worked fulltime for Berryville, travelling 50 miles a day from his Osage home, where he still lives with his wife.

Mayor McKinney praised Giarusso as having the best talent: "He knows how to work and always got the job done."

Giarusso, 83, said working here has been "the happiest time of my life."

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