City Employee Celebrates 45 Years of Dedicated Service

Don Lee is very good at his job.

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And he should be, because he’s been doing it a long time—45 years last Friday, as a matter of fact.

Mike Hoehner, left, stands with Don Lee, Sapulpa’s Employee of the Year for 2022. Lee has worked at Sapulpa since 1977, and has rarely taken a day off, as his hat shows. Photo/Micah Choquette.

At Friday’s City Employee Luncheon, there were dozens of pins awarded to employees who had been working for the City of Sapulpa for 5, 10, 15, and 25 years.

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Don Lee got one of those, but he got something else, too; he got a hat with the number 99.99813% embroidered on it.

That percentage is something special. Don Lee’s supervisor Mike Hoehner tallied up all the hours that Don has been scheduled to work since he’s been his boss; the number on the hat is the amount of time he’s actually worked.

“The man almost never takes a sick day,” Hoehner says. “Usually, it’s him coming in anyway, and we have to send him home.”

Don Lee says that the time he’s had working for the City of Sapulpa since 1977 has been good times, but it was his responsibilities that kept him there so long.

“I had a family and kids, and others were getting laid off, but the City wasn’t laying nobody off, so I stayed,” he said.

Don Lee, who worked first in the parks department and later as a meter reader, loves Sapulpa. He grew up here, and played football here. He was part of the first group of junior high students to attend the newly-integrated Sapulpa schools after the tornado in 1960 brought down Booker T. Washington school.

He has a lot of stories to tell, but he says gets most of them from talking and listening to others. “You live and learn. Talk to the old folks. Somebody can teach you more than you usually expect. Because they’ve done it, just have to listen and learn from it.”

Congratulations to Sapulpa’s Employee of the Year, Don Lee. Here’s hoping we get many more.