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Conservation District manager retires after 33 years

Bruce Pearce, district manager and conservation specialist for the Halifax Soil and Water Conservation District, has decided that after 33 years on the job, it’s time to retire.

Today is his last day on the job.

Surrounded by family, friends and coworkers Wednesday afternoon, Pearce celebrated the culmination of over three decades of service to Halifax County citizens during a reception held in the conference room of the Virginia Cooperative Extension Office in Halifax.

 “Thirty-three years is a long time to work one job. I’m going to spend some time farming and let somebody else have a chance at working,” Pearce said. 

The veteran conservation specialist began his career at Halifax Soil and Water Conservation District in 1980.

“There were six openings in the state, and I saw where they were advertising. I applied for it, and I was lucky enough to get it,” Pearce recalled.

In addition to working as a conservation specialist, for the past 10 years or so, Pearce has served as the district manager for the Halifax Soil and Water Conservation District.

As the district manager, Pearce has been responsible for laying out work for best management practices for farm owners to use on their land to stop and prevent erosion, approving the erosion and sediment control plans for the county and working with the public school system on conservation education. 

Pearce said the Soil and Water Conservation District holds a youth camp, an envirothon and eco meet for students each year.

“The kids love it, and I’ve enjoyed it to,” Pearce said.

Over the years, Pearce said he has truly enjoyed Halifax County and the people.

“Halifax County is my home now. I love the county, and the people, they’re just like the people I grew up with. There are good people here,” Pearce said.

 The people are one of the things Pearce said he will miss the most about his job.

“I will miss all the people, all the farmers who I’ve worked with over the years, the people in the office and the people in the building, and I’ll miss working with the students,” Pearce said. “I’ll really miss that part because that was really rewarding to work them.”

Pearce said some of his most memorable moments on the job have been when he took the children canoeing down the Staunton River every summer.

“I always looked forward to that every summer. That was a blast. Some of those kids probably never went canoeing again, but it was very entertaining and enjoyable to see how happy those kids were in the canoe,” Pearce said.

When asked what he will miss the least, Pearce replied, “The bureaucracy the government is full of now.”

Pearce tearfully told to his friends, family and co-workers Wednesday afternoon that the hardest thing about his job has been losing some of the mentors and people he admired who passed away.

 Throughout his years working as a conservation specialist, Pearce said he has learned to be more patient and more tolerant of people because everybody is different.

“In life you should have priorities. Your first priority should be God, your second priority should be your family, your third priority should be all the people around you, and the fourth one should be your work or task, what you do while you’re here the short time that we have here on earth,” Pearce said explaining one of the main lessons he has taken away after all his years on the job.

During his retirement, Pearce said he looks forward to taking some time for himself, doing a little fishing and hunting and spending time with his grandsons.