Submitted by McHenry County Conservation District
Tom McCarthy took his last trip to the office Jan. 11 after 37 years of service to McHenry County Conservation District.
McCarthy, 59, has been the Land & Facilities Manager for the past 25 years, responsible for maintaining the infrastructure; buildings, roads, bridges and equipment. He supervised 20 staff members who maintain the district's 115 miles of hiking trails, 42 miles of biking trails, 12 mile canoe trail, 18 fishing sites, 18 reservable picnic shelters, six campgrounds and 32 sites to ensure that the public has a safe and enjoyable visit.
"Over the years, Tom has devoted his knowledge, time and expertise to the district. He has immeasurably enhanced the district for generations of McHenry County residents. There isn't an acre of land, stretch of trail or roadway the district owns that Tom is not familiar with," said John Kremer, director of operations.
McCarthy spent two years at McHenry County College and went on to graduate from the University of Illinois with a degree in forestry. He started with the district July 15, 1976, just four years after the conservation district was formed, through the Comprehensive Employment and Training Act, a federal program designed to train workers and provide them with jobs in the public service.
The district took him on as a full-time area ranger in January 1977 and never looked back. McCarthy began and ended his career at McHenry County Conservation District. Throughout the years, he has seen multiple bosses, trustees and co-workers come and go. He witnessed the district grow from just 1,183 acres with five employees to its present size of 25,063 with 77 full-time employees.
"He is deeply connected to the natural resources and passionate about offering our residents a quality experience. He is a strong advocated for our volunteers and Eagle Scouts, there wasn't a grand opening, ribbon-cutting workday, or volunteer appreciation recognition that he missed. He is the guy who was always there and just a phone call away. He is part of the foundation the district was built upon and a pillar in the community. He will be greatly missed, but we all wish him well," Kremer said.
At the Jan. 10 board meeting, the officers and board of trustees of the McHenry County Conservation District passed a resolution in his honor to "hereby express and convey their deep and sincere gratitude and heartfelt appreciation."