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Vina recognizes clerk for 25 years of service

When Sue Raper first started her job as town clerk of Vina, the fire truck was housed in town hall. Utility billing was done by hand. And the town had never before had a full-time clerk.

That was 25 years ago, and Raper has been working hard for the people of Vina ever since.

The town council recognized her for her years of service Dec. 4. Surprisingly, Raper didn’t initially apply for the job when it came open in 1990 – she was approached for it. Raper said one of the town councilmen asked her to apply, and though she was at first uncertain, he assured her she could handle it.

So Raper became the first full-time clerk ever hired – and it was certainly a full-time job.

“It took two weeks to just do the water bills,” she said with a laugh. “From the time they would read the meters, to the time you got it figured how many gallons they had used, to writing it on the cards, to getting it in the mail, it would be two weeks and time to start again. Thank goodness we didn’t have as much business and as many things to do as we do now.”

Raper is constantly busy, carrying out town business.

“I do whatever the council and the mayor need me to do,” she said. “I’m the go-to person to do that … Taking care of 13 bank accounts keeps me busy. And you have taxes to pay and payroll to meet.”

She also sits on the EMS board and helps with the parade committee, among other duties. Of course, Raper has seen the town – and her responsibilities as town clerk – grow and change since 1990.

“We didn’t have a typewriter – we didn’t type our minutes. They were hand-written,” Raper remembered. “Things have really improved. The fire truck was here in city hall, and now we have our fire station. I have seen a lot of changes since I’ve been here.”

Raper has served under only two mayors during her 25 years with the town, but she has served hundreds of people, the citizens of Vina.

“I love the people, and that’s a big part of my job – taking care of the people,” Raper said. “Everybody needs some kind of paperwork notarized – somebody wants something pretty much every day.”

People even call her at home.

“That’s OK – and they know that’s OK,” Raper said. “After 25 years, you take charge, and you are the go-to. You expect to be.”

Prior to taking on the town clerk position, Raper managed the park and ran the camp store at Elliott Branch with the BCDA.

Raper is married to Gary, who is retired. She has two children, Denieta Cantrell and Dewayne Raper, and two granddaughters, Erica, 16, and Hailey, 11, with whom she loves to bake. Hailey usually finds new recipes for them to try.

“Anything she can come up with, we bake,” Raper said. “Every year I make them a new Christmas apron, and we have pictures of baking. It’s a good pastime. They look forward to it, and I do too.”

In addition to baking, Raper enjoys camping at her old stomping grounds – Elliott Branch. She is also active with Vina First Baptist Church, and she and her husband ran Vina Café for several years and rented it out for several additional years, although it is closed currently.

In addition to being recognized for her many years of dedicated services, Raper has also been nominated for Clerk of the Year twice through the League of Municipalities and is a certified municipal clerk.