The Copperas Cove City Council recognized 75 years of service to residents on Tuesday by honoring four city employees.

Joe Wooten, a chief plant operator for the wastewater department, had the longest tenure of the individuals who received service awards for their time with the city.

Wooten started as a sewer collection operator on July 17, 1978. Since then, he has been promoted twice and transferred to his current position, where he supervises the Northwest Wastewater Treatment Plant’s daily operation.

“He is extremely dedicated to this community,” City Manager Andrea Gardner said. “I could go on and on about the work he does for the city.”

Wooten proved his dedication when he transferred to his current position after the city outsourced wastewater testing to Bell County Water Control and Improvement District No. 1, Gardner said. Wooten could have just retired.

Firefighter and emergency medical technician James Stayton and fire Lt. James Bednar Jr. earned their 15-year service awards.

Stayton started with the city on July 10, 1998, and Bednar started the day after.

On June 1, 2002, Bednar was promoted to fire lieutenant and has served as a fire inspector.

Both firefighters have received several honors during their tenure with the city, Gardner said.

Tuesday, fire Lt. Stephen Clendenen will celebrate his 10-year anniversary with the city.

Clendenen started as a firefighter and emergency medical technician on July 9, 2003. He was promoted to his current position on Dec. 9, 2006.

He, too, has received several honors, including being named the Exchange Club’s Firefighter of the Quarter in July 2011.

Contact Mason W. Canales at ​ or (254) 501-7474

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