Wolfe Was Long-Serving Supervisor of Elkins Sewer System
Michael Wolfe, a long-serving and well-respected former Elkins Sanitary Board employee, died on October 5.
Wolfe, 66 at the time of his death, retired in 2021 as the chief operator of the Elkins Wastewater System. His retirement capped 20 years of public service in Elkins. Wolfe began his career in wastewater treatment in Belington, following earlier positions as a truck driver and construction worker. He was also a farmer and volunteered as a youth basketball and baseball coach.
Mike Currence, who recently retired as head of the Wastewater Collection Department and is now consulting for the Sanitary Board, remembers Wolfe as an excellent supervisor who showed a strong commitment not only to his work but to his family.
“I worked under Mike for 3 years, and he was always good to work for and work with,” says Currence. “He reminded you of the typical ‘good old country boy.’ He never wanted anything fancy and just desired the necessities. He was a family man through and through and cherished his family more than anything.”
According to Whitney Hymes, the current chief operator of the Elkins wastewater system, Wolfe was an expert in his field and never hesitated to share his knowledge.
“Not only could Mike fix anything, but he had a gift for teaching others,” says Hymes. “He was always willing to explain things and would take as long as necessary to help you understand.”
Wolfe was a gifted problem solver whose mechanical knowledge and ability to innovate helped the system avoid the expense of retaining outside assistance.
“Mike actually designed a lot of the operational equipment at the plant,” says Hymes. “He was so familiar with the way everything worked, he would often come up with ways to improve a piece of equipment to make it work even better. He could perform a lot of repairs and installations himself, so that saved our customers quite a bit of money. We are still using a lot of structures and equipment that Mike designed himself.”
Hymes notes that Wolfe was often contacted by personnel from other wastewater systems for advice and was twice recognized by the West Virginia Rural Water Association as the state’s Wastewater Operator of the Year. She remembers him as the strong backbone of a high-functioning department.
“Mike was patient and easy to work with,” says Hymes. “If we ever needed anything, he was always there for us.”