Fifty years of service…and counting

Photo by Liz Chrisman

1971.

The movie “Billy Jack” dominated the box office, “When You’re Hot, You’re Hot” by Jerry Reed was burning up the country music charts, and Archie Bunker’s rants were what most families tuned their television antennae to watch. Frank Broyles was only the head football hog in Fayetteville and Eddie Sutton was an unknown in Arkansas at the time. In Russellville, Wonder Boys football at Arkansas Tech University brought home an NAIA championship while Golden Suns Basketball was still 20 years from dominance.

On June 13 of that year, perhaps the greatest Razorback, Arkansas Tech University — heck, maybe the biggest sports fan in the River Valley region — began work as custodian at the Pope County Courthouse. Now, five decades later, Robyn Richardson’s coworkers and friends celebrate this colorful but soft-spoken gentleman and his unwavering work ethic.

This is not a retirement celebration. Make no mistake, Robyn plans to be back on the job after the sweets are eaten and the kind words have faded (Robyn told Pope County Judge Ben Cross that he plans to work another 20 years… which would make him 91 when he does finally retire.). We captured some of those words from his coworkers and friends to paint an accurate portrait of Pope County’s most well-known employee.


“I always said he was like my PR man because he never met a stranger. The courthouse means everything to him. No one locks the courthouse but him. He has a lot of people that care about him, and he cares for a lot of people. He is a huge sports fan and would come in on game days dressed in fan gear making people smile. He is a friendly person and a hard worker. There is no other Robyn.”
~ Jim Gibson, former Pope County judge


“He keeps our days going. He is always here to greet us, picking up our mail, and if he is not here, we go looking for him. He is a sweet person that takes his time to know others. When his mother passed away, he gave each one of us one of her Christmas ornaments He is a faithful, kindhearted, person that always makes sure his coworkers are taken care of. “
~ Dana Baker, Pope County Tax Assessor


”He is always holding the door open for me. He is a very caring man. He is like the big brother of the courthouse. When I am away from work, he always checks in on me. I love him and it would not be the same without him here.”
~Stacy Pack, Pope County Deputy Tax Collector


”Robyn is dependable, faithful, and reliable. He never misses work. Even on his vacation days he still comes in to make sure everything is running smoothly.”
~ Marcus Hubbard, Pope County Courthouse Maintenance Supervisor


”Robyn Richardson is the epitome of dedicated public servant.  June 13, 2021 will mark Robyn’s 50th year of employment at the Pope County Courthouse, working under nine County Judges, and becoming the longest-serving county employee in Pope County history.  Robyn’s work ethic and commitment to the staff at the courthouse is amazing. Even when sick with COVID-19 himself, he checked in daily.  More than dedication to his job is Robyn’s commitment to his church and his unwavering faith. Forever an optimist, he will always leave you with one consistent statement — “It’s all good.”
~Ben Cross, Pope County Judge


”It amazes me how Robyn can remember all the little details and always is a reassuring presence at the courthouse. From day one and every day after, he never goes without saying “hello” and giving me an update on how the world is going.”
~Hayli Chronister


”Every morning he always opens the door for us and says “good morning” and it always brings a smile to my face. When we get the mail everyday it may be a large or small bundle, but he always looks at it and says, “not bad” and then usually proceeds with the weather, sports, or our common topic is the weather on the beach in Florida. I know this courthouse would not be the same without Robyn here every day. “
~Maeghan Flores


”One thing I love about Robyn is that he always makes me laugh. Robyn and I get here about the same time every morning, and he always opens the door for me and starts talking about sports or the weather. He doesn’t know I have no idea about sports, but thanks to him I feel like I’m always in the loop and full of knowledge.”
~Maddy Strickland


”As a person growing up in Russellville and going to football games throughout the River Valley, a man known as “Robyn” was always there. He would be standing behind the goalpost either catching footballs or trying to at least. From a little girl to an adult, it was nice to see this staple of a man there doing his thing. I now have the privilege to see him each day at the courthouse. A man of few words, unless it is about football, weather, or anything else that is most important to him each day. Then many will hear about it. I am truly honored to be able to get to know our Russellville mascot I have loved and adored for as long as I can remember. What a joy you are, Robyn! We love you!”
~Andrea Signor


”We love him here in the office. He loves going to church and is always looking after us, making sure we do not need anything. He is loyal and kind.”
~Jennifer Haley, Pope County Tax Collector


”One thing I like about Robyn is that he is always concerned about everyone’s well-being. And if for some reason you aren’t doing good, he’s always asking for an update on you.”
~Clara Hubbard


”Robyn is the face of our court house. I cannot tell you how many people call my cell phone and ask how he is doing or when it is his birthday. I love seeing his face in the morning. He will melt your heart like butter. He has a big heart and is always there when you need a smile. He is a huge Razorback fan and is always there to tell me about the games. He really cares about us and the city.”
~Rachel Oertling, Pope County Circuit Clerk


”We’re going to win tonight. No competition. Nope.” This is something he repeatedly says to everyone he sees during the day when his team is playing that night. And if they do in fact win, you definitely know because that contagious smile is plastered across his face.”
~Chey Reel


”Growing up going to Tech basketball games with my father, I always would see Robyn making sure the court was swept and cleaned up. It was only years later, when I started working at the courthouse, did I ever begin knowing this awesome man. He is so knowledgeable when it comes to all things sports, weather, and news related, always keeping us in the loop about anything new that he learns. He also, personally for me, makes me feel super-special because he never seems to forget things I tell him about events occurring in my life. I recently got married, and it seemed like every time I saw him he was asking how things were going or mentioning little facts I told him about, days, weeks, even months ago. For as many people as he talks to during a day, he still remembers little facts about me particularly. How awesome of a guy is that? So very thankful for Robin and his role in this building as well as in this community. The River Valley definitely wouldn’t be the same without him!”
~Courtney Corbin


”Robyn is an icon for the Courthouse as well as the county. Everyone knows Robyn and he knows everyone. If not, once they come to the Courthouse they will.  He takes a lot of pride in his job with the county. He has always came in on his days off to make sure the Courthouse doors are open on time and locked up at night. He knows all his coworkers as well as their families. When my kids were in school, he kept up with them in all their sports and activities and how they were doing and would bring me newspaper articles that they were mentioned in. He keeps track of all the local high school, jr. high and Arkansas Tech sports (football, basketball, softball, etc.) as well as other college and pro teams, and can tell you every day who won or lost. Robyn is truly one-in-a-million and one of our most prized employees/citizen of Pope County.”
~ Pam Ennis Pope County Clerk


”Robin has the biggest heart. He loves his courthouse gals so much. I love his greetings every morning and also how I have acquired the “baby sister” nickname. He makes sure we know the latest info on all the sports teams, local, college, and professional.  He is also the weatherman of the courthouse. We know when we need an umbrella or a jacket. He makes sure we are taken care of.”
~Ashley N. Morris, Pope County Deputy Assessor