Interview by Andrew Pouncey
September 30, 2020 (Date of Retirement)
Ruby Lake, Senior Cleaning Service Worker for the City of Germantown, retired September 30, 2020, having served the City of Germantown for 43 years. Ruby was hired in 1976 by Hugh Ford, who at that time was Director of Public Services.
Ruby, the daughter of Ezekiel and Rosie Westbrook, was born March 2, 1956. She has four sisters and three brothers. The family lived in Collierville, Tennessee, where her father worked for McGinnis Lumber Company, and her mother was a custodial worker for the Collierville Public School system. Ruby is married and has a 24-year old son.
Ruby graduated from Collierville High School in 1974 and began working with the City of Germantown three years later at 21 years of age. Hugh Ford hired Ruby out of the Community and Economic Development Association (CEDA) Program for a position with the Public Works Department for the City of Germantown. Her initial job entailed picking up trash and cutting grass. Cleaning has included everything from setting up and cleaning rooms for meetings, cleaning parks, and hanging exhibits in People Street at City Hall.
Among many, some of Ruby’s favorite people to work with were Ray Wright, Richard Tuggle, Bertha Hall, Sherrye Rhea, Joyce Matthew, Starry Stiggers, and Joyce LaCroix. She says “I learned the importance of patience, good customer service and treating people ‘right’.” “Excellence Everyday”, says Ruby.
During her tenure, Ruby won the ‘Spirit Award’, not once, but twice. The purpose of the ‘Spirit Award’ is to recognize City employees that best represent the core values of our organization as demonstrated in their attitude, work ethic, and customer service. Spirit spells out “S” for Service Excellence, “P” for Produce “A+” Results, “I” for Initiative, “R” for Responsibility, “I” for Innovative, and “T” for practice Teamwork”.
Ruby Lake represents the S.P.I.R.I.T. of Germantown.