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Waynesboro man honored as oldest worker

March 12, 1998|By RICHARD F. BELISLE, Waynesboro

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Milton Garland

WAYNESBORO, Pa. - Each day, Milton Garland goes to his office at the Frick Co. in Waynesboro as he has for nearly eight decades.

This week, Garland, 102, of Waynesboro, is being honored in the nation's capital as the country's oldest worker.

Ceremonies will include a visit with members of Congress and first lady Hillary Clinton.

Organizers also hope that Garland will get a moment or two with President Clinton.

Garland is being honored by Greenthumb, a national, nonprofit, senior advocacy group that focuses on training and finding jobs for low-income, older workers.

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It also promotes older workers in general and the philosophy that they have much to contribute in the workplace, said Greenthumb spokeswoman Claire Powers from the agency's Camp Hill, Pa., office.

The agency was created in 1965 as a demonstration project for disadvantaged older workers as part of then-President Lyndon Johnson's Great Society program.

Powers said Garland is among more than 50 older workers from across the country being honored in Washington, D.C., this week. Each state was invited to send an outstanding older worker.

Pennsylvania sent Garland as both its outstanding worker and the state's oldest worker.

"He was the oldest worker that we found in the country," Powers said.

The honorees' agenda included a tour of the White House and meetings with Senate and House committee members Wednesday.

Garland met with U.S. Sen. Rick Santorum, R-Pa., and will meet with U.S. Rep. Bud Shuster, R-Pa., today, a spokesman for Shuster said.

Garland has a degree in mechanical engineering from Worcester Polytechnic Institute in Massachusetts. He went to work for Frick in 1920, after serving in the Navy during World War I.

He lives in the same house on Second Street that he bought in the 1920s. He has two children, ages 74 and 68, both of whom live in California.

During his years at Frick, he was credited with being a pioneer in modern refrigeration technology and his name is on 40 patents, all related to the refrigeration industry.

He retired as Frick's vice president of technological services in 1967 at age 72, but remains with the company as a full-time private consultant.

In 1988, at age 93, he cut his hours down to mornings only.

Nattily dressed in a suit, he walks into his office each day and goes to work - mostly reading his correspondence and keeping up with the refrigeration industry through trade magazines.

He complained in a September interview that his eyesight wasn't as good as it used to be. He uses a magnifying device to read in his office.

Garland was the official honoree of the Waynesboro Bicentennial Parade in September. He said at the time that he remembered the town's 150th anniversary in 1947, during which he served as a tour guide for the open house at the Frick Co.

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