Neal Conder Celebrates 45 Years at Townsend Tree Service

Neal Conder was recently recognized for his 45 years of service with Townsend Tree Service. Neal started as a Groundman in 1973, became a Top Trimmer two years later, and four years after that, he became a Foreman. He has been a General Foreman for the last 11 years. He was also attacked by an ostrich once.

Neal lives and works around the Casey County, Kentucky area. When he's not working, he loves deer and turkey hunting with his grandson, as well as fishing and gardening with his wife, Pat.

Neal-Conder-01.jpg"Pat and I have been married for 45 years, and we have one son, Joseph, and his wife, Jessica, plus two grandkids, Reana and William Joseph," said Neal. He and Pat attend the Manna Harvest Tabernacle Church in Gravel Switch, Kentucky.

Neal has also been a strong proponent of safety for his crew members. "I'm really strict on it, Townsend is strict on it," said Neal. "I try to keep my guys in line, and they're what's kept me here for 45 years."

Neal said he goes over their daily safety nuggets at their morning briefing, and if someone has a problem or issue, they bring it to each other's attention to make sure they avoid injuries or dangerous situations. "We've never had anyone hurt seriously, and hopefully we won't," said Neal.

As you might expect out in the rural areas, they've had their fair share of critter encounters — "I had a copperhead hit me on the pant leg once," said Neal — but the strangest incident was not something you expect to see in rural Kentucky.

"The worst situation we ever had was a male ostrich attacked us," said Neal. "The owner told us it weighed 300 pounds and was 8 feet tall. Their toes are like knives."

According to Neal, it came over a fence and attacked him and his crew on a driveway. "The other guy was able to run away because that thing focused its attention on me."

Neal climbed another fence, the ostrich followed, and Neal climbed up a tree. An ostrich's legs bend the opposite of a human's, and he was able to kick Neal in his arm while he was climbing.

"He hit me right on the muscle as I was climbing the fence," said Neal.

But despite the occasional creature encounter, Neal has enjoyed his time at Townsend.

"I like what I do," said Neal. "I like fixing things, fixing right-of-ways. I love trimming trees. I was a foreman for so long, nearly 35 years, and I've loved every minute of it. And I've had some good bosses. Preston Mills, Sr. was a good boss, and helped me more than anybody else. He told me years ago that I had to learn computers, so I did."

But most importantly, Neal loves the satisfaction comes from knowing he and his crews have helped others. "I like helping people get their electricity on after a storm," he said. "People thank us and that feels good. I don't like seeing anybody have to suffer."
Posted: 6/20/2018 1:00:00 PM by Abby Bath