Caraway, 82, retires from rest area job

Published 1:20 am Tuesday, May 17, 2016

Daniel Bruce Caraway and his wife, Mable.  Courtesy photo

Daniel Bruce Caraway and his wife, Mable.
Courtesy photo

The face of the rest area on Hwy. 331 in Covington County has retired.

Daniel Bruce Caraway retired recently after nearly 26 years of service to the state of Alabama and travelers from the rest area located between Opp and Florala.

He is 82.

During his last shift, his co-workers and their wives surprised him with a retirement party.

Tommy and Shelia Mancil, Jerry and Alice Fuller, John Devaughn, and David and Pam Hutcheston, set up cake, chips and drinks at the picnic pavilion.

Robert Scofield, previous co-worker and long-time friend, also joined the celebration.

Mancil made a touching speech and presented Caraway with a gift.

Fuller made a 19-layer chocolate cake for the occasion as a special gift.

Caraway took the job in May 1990, after retiring from the family farm near Florala, landscaping in Atlanta and working at Dorsey Trailers in Elba.

The experiences and skills he brought to the job made impacts on many people from several states who stopped by while traveling.

Caraway was known to help those who were low on fuel by lending them the keys to his personal truck to make a trip to fill a fuel can in the back of his truck.

He rooted and planted many flowers and shrubs, many of which he shared with travelers who asked about them.

Due to Caraway’s green thumb, the rest area has been awarded beautification recognitions on several occasions.

During hurricane evacuations, the traffic on 331 is overwhelming.

Caraway, would bring food and drinks to share with anxious, exhausted travelers – mostly jars of peanut butter and crackers.

One memory Caraway recalls is when a young woman with an infant was in need of help.

The baby was crying and the woman looked as though she could cry, too.

After Caraway talked to the woman, he learned that she had not had anything to eat or drink in several hours and was not producing enough milk to nurse her baby.

Caraway gave her peanut butter crackers and a drink.

After eating and relaxing, she was later able to nurse her baby and continue her travels.

Caraway said he will miss those he has worked with over the years, and the friends he made along the way, but he is looking forward to having more time to devote to his church, family, gardening, fishing and hunting.

His wife, Mable, is glad to finally have him home every night for the first time in many years.

Her honey-do list is lengthy, she said.