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May 8, 2017

Coworkers honor town utilities Superintendent Ricky Wines

Photo/Lawrence Emerson
His coworkers set up this memorial to Warrenton Utilities Superintendent Richard “Ricky” Wines on Monday, a day after his sudden death at age 58.
Mr. Wines earned the town “Employee of the Year” award in 2016.
Warrenton Public Utilities and Public Works Department employees paid tribute to one of their own Monday with an impromptu memorial.

Town Utilities Superintendent Richard “Ricky” Wines died unexpectedly Sunday night.

Mr. Wines, 58, collapsed after playing basketball at his church, Jeffersonton Baptist.

The 38-year town employee earned universal respect for his work ethic and fairness, according to coworkers.

They polished the white Chevrolet Colorado pickup he drove on the job and parked it on Falmouth Street at the Public Works Department entrance. Coworkers draped black bunting over the pickup and the department sign. They placed flowers, a blaze-orange “Utility Work Ahead” sign and a photo of Mr. Wines around the truck.

Mr. Wines was one of the first people born in the new Fauquier Hospital, his mother said. A Warrenton native, he graduated from Fauquier High School in 1978. Mr. Wines started working for the Town of Warrenton on March 26, 1979.

In 2016, he received the town “Employee of the Year” award. Mr. Wines had the longest tenure of any current town employee.

“He was the epitome of a public servant,” town Public Works Director Edward “Bo” Tucker said. “Having grown up in Warrenton and then serving the community for over 35 years, it was very evident that he loved the town and treated it with an unequaled respect.

“Serving as the superintendent of the section that maintains the water and sewer lines in the town he set a daily example of dedication, strong work ethic and Christian character for subordinates, peers and also his superiors to follow,” Mr. Tucker added. “His departure has left a gaping hole in the department and we all will miss him.

“The memorial at the shop was a spontaneous employee reaction upon hearing the news and a strong feeling of wanting to show their love appreciation and respect to Rick and his family.”

Public Works Superintendent John Ward recalled working around the clock with Mr. Wines to clear Warrenton’s streets of snow during a blizzard in the mid-1980s.

“There were just three of us, Ricky, Wayne (Toomey) and me, driving plow trucks, along with the guy on the motor grader,” Mr. Ward said. “Wayne had brought two pieces of chicken, wrapped in aluminum foil. That was all we had to eat. Everything was closed, even Frost Diner.

“The next day, we had to go to the truck stop (at Opal) to get something to eat. We plowed for 24 hours straight.”

Even after his promotion to utilities superintendent years later, Mr. Wines still helped with whatever needed to get done, including snow removal, Mr. Ward said.

“He was a good friend, who did his job well.”

Although “he had a religious upbringing,” Mr. Wines over the last decade grew even strong in his faith, Mr. Ward said. “In the last five or six years, he was going full force, studying the Bible.

“I know what he would say, ‘Don't worry about me. I’ll be OK’,” Mr. Ward added.

Mr. Tucker on Monday retired Mr. Wines’ radio call number, 412 — something Warrenton never had done.

The department Monday also issued his last radio call:

Shop to 412.

Shop to 412.

Shop to 412.

After no answer . . .

All units stand by for a callout. Do not broadcast on this channel for final call.

This is the final call for Superintendent Richard Wines, 412. Richard Wines passed away May 7, 2017.

He faithfully dedicated his life to the Town of Warrenton and its citizens. The men and women of the Town of Warrenton Public Utilities and Public Works are forever grateful and proud to have served with Superintendent Richard Wines and will never forget his service.

All units break for a moment of silence.

Ricky Wines, may you rest in peace, knowing your strength lives on in your wife, your legacy will be carried on through your child, and that your honor will continue on with all of us.

Richard Wines, thank you for your service.

412, you are clear to go.

412, out of service. End of duty.

Godspeed, sir.

Standby is lifted. Shop clear.

The service for Mr. Wines will take place at 2 p.m. Friday, May 12, at Moser Funeral Home in Warrenton. Click here for obituary.
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David Norden · May 9, 2017 at 3:11 pm
Devastating news. I graduated from Fauquier High with Ricky and as an architect for over 30 years in the community and as a 16 year member of the town council, I worked closely with Ricky on many issues and projects. There has never been a more loyal and dedicated employee of the town, nor better example of all that is good in our community. My heartfelt condolences to Ricky's family.
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