Moffitt: a man of many talents

Thursday, January 12, 2012
Verlin Moffitt and Murphy administrator Glenda Spicer

Verlin Moffitt has been a part of many things in his 85 years of life. Growing up on a farm in Fagus, he was taught the value of hard work at an early age by his parents J.O. and Mabel Moffitt.

"I had a good childhood," Moffitt said. "In those days, everybody worked. You didn't question it. You worked with your family and enjoyed what you had."

As an adult, Moffitt began a career in construction, essentially by chance.

"I was at the Piggott Fourth of July Picnic and a man from Brown & Root was there looking for people to work," Moffitt said. "It sounded pretty good to me, so I went along with them."

Today, Brown & Root has evolved into KBR, one of the largest construction and engineering firms in the world.

Moffitt hired on as a welder's assistant. As time went by, the welder with whom he worked was promoted to a supervisor position. This opened the door to opportunity for Moffitt, who was given the chance to run a side boom crane.

"He asked me if I thought I could run a side boom," Moffitt recalled. "I said that I could, so he told me to get in (the crane) and move these scrap pipes over here and then move them back. It was a test. I did it and he made me a side boom operator. He gave me the break that started me in running heavy equipment."

Moffitt continued working for Brown & Root for several years, working on sites throughout the continental United States. He also worked for other construction companies in the Houston area.

"I worked at that kind of work most of the 50s and 60s," Moffitt said. "I liked it."

Moffitt recalls operating a 100-ton crane, the largest piece of equipment he ever operated.

"It was something to see, especially in those days. I would like to have the chance to run one of those high cranes they're building the hospital with at Jonesboro."

Moffitt returned to this area and bought a Shell service station in Fagus in 1970. He owned and operated Moffitt's Service Station for over five years.

"When I bought it, I was selling gas for 29.9 cents a gallon. I kept it five and a half years and was selling gas for 50 cents and making the same profit. It didn't make much sense."

From there, Moffitt came to Piggott. He found work with Clarence Mack's Trucking Company before working at Napa and Art Holifield's service station.

Moffitt joined the staff of the Murphy Health and Rehab, working 11 years as maintenance supervisor.

More recently, Moffitt was involved in creating the Hootenanny events which raised funds for shipping Iraq Paks to area soldiers overseas and collected items for area children in late 2006 and early 2007. Moffitt helped line up performers for the community event, which featured numerous local musicians and volunteers.

"Oh, I loved it," Moffitt said of his involvement. "I worked on that and had a lot of fun. I was right there for the first two and had a real good time. I helped get the last show up, but then I got sick and wasn't able to attend it. We couldn't get anybody to take over, so it just folded after that. It stopped like it started -- all at once."

After working at the site, Moffitt now resides at Murphy. His outgoing personality and familiarity with the staff has allowed him to find a comfortable home there.

"When I worked here, Glenda (Spicer, Murphy administrator) was the activities director. This was a good place then and it still is now."

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