In 2011, a few months after being diagnosed with cancer, Keith Surges retired from his job as operations superintendent for Lombard's public works department.
"I enjoyed my job ... I enjoyed working with everybody, especially problem solving -- and we had many problems over the years," Surges said with a smile.
Surges was recognized during Thursday's village board meeting for his dedication to the village, where he worked for more than 37 years.
"Under Keith's direction, we developed many operational plans and practices that are still used in operations today," said Carl Goldsmith, director of public works.
During the emotional recognition, Surges was presented with a sign revealing the name of the village's new public works maintenance facility. It will be called The Keith J. Surges Center.
"I want to thank everybody who's here for showing up to this. It means so much to me," Surges said before thanking Goldsmith and giving him a hug as family members and friends stood and clapped.
Goldsmith said Surges long had a vision for the maintenance facility, which is scheduled to be completed this fall, and a salt dome, which was constructed last summer.
Surges started working for the department as a maintenance man in 1973. He served as a sewage treatment plant operator and as a foreman in the sewer collections division before being named assistant superintendent of operations in 1988. He had held his most recent position since 1991.
Goldsmith said Surges was known for his "honesty, integrity, innovation and planning," but also for being a compassionate and thoughtful friend.
Since his retirement, Surges has undergone numerous cancer treatments, but he also has taken time to play golf with friends in the public works department and travel with his wife of 18 years, Goldsmith said.
"I regard Keith as a man of high integrity, who embodies the true meaning of what a public servant is," Goldsmith said. "He has left a mark on Lombard that will not be forgotten."