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On Island Profile: Jerry Runyon

Nov. 12, 2007 — Jerry Runyon, 69, retired in March from the Federal Highway Administration, a civil engineering job that had him out on St. John's federal roads figuring how to make them better.
"It's working out in the field that I like best," he says. "I feel more at home."
Although he spends more time walking the beach near his St. John home than he used to, Runyon isn't sitting around growing older. A civil engineer by trade and training, he recently returned from a week-long volunteer trip to Haiti with an Atlanta-based group called Serve Haiti, where he worked on improving road access to rural medical clinics.
"I rode five miles on a donkey," Runyon says, laughing as he described how his posterior felt after that trip. He says he plans to return next summer to work on similar volunteer jobs with Serve Haiti.
"It's hard to retire," he says.
Runyon is also devoting more time to Viggo E. Sewer American Legion Post 131, where he serves as post commander. He says it's important to work on issues like lack of St. John-based health care for veterans: They must travel to St. Thomas or even Puerto Rico for care.
"I think it's a burden for us," he says.
And Runyon says he's pleased that the organization has branched out into the community with its flag football program.
Runyon spent his military years mainly with the Army Corps of Engineers, serving in Dachau and Manheim, Germany, and Fort Sill, Okla.
Born in Sussex, N.J., he went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Norwich University, a military school in New Hampshire. When he graduated, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
After spending five years with the military, he took a job with the Washington State Highway Department, moving on to a job with a land surveying company in Washington. He returned home to New Jersey to work for the engineering firm Buck, Seifert and Jost, where he quickly was assigned to the company's Puerto Rico office.
"Most of it was doing construction work and design and studies for wastewater treatment plants," Runyon says.
During his nine years in Puerto Rico, Runyon met his wife of 36 years, real estate appraiser Elissa Runyon, while she was on a beach vacation from her home in New York.
After the Puerto Rico jobs ended, he made a short foray back to New Jersey before moving to the Virgin Islands in 1978 to work with the V.I. Housing Department. He then served as the project engineer for the Health Department when it built the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John.
His local government career also included jobs with the Public Works Department's road engineering department.
After working as a contract surveyor, he joined the Highway Administration in 1991, working on St. John and in North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey and Georgia, with St. John as his home base.
"When they had jobs down here, I got them," he says.
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Nov. 12, 2007 -- Jerry Runyon, 69, retired in March from the Federal Highway Administration, a civil engineering job that had him out on St. John's federal roads figuring how to make them better.
"It's working out in the field that I like best," he says. "I feel more at home."
Although he spends more time walking the beach near his St. John home than he used to, Runyon isn't sitting around growing older. A civil engineer by trade and training, he recently returned from a week-long volunteer trip to Haiti with an Atlanta-based group called Serve Haiti, where he worked on improving road access to rural medical clinics.
"I rode five miles on a donkey," Runyon says, laughing as he described how his posterior felt after that trip. He says he plans to return next summer to work on similar volunteer jobs with Serve Haiti.
"It's hard to retire," he says.
Runyon is also devoting more time to Viggo E. Sewer American Legion Post 131, where he serves as post commander. He says it's important to work on issues like lack of St. John-based health care for veterans: They must travel to St. Thomas or even Puerto Rico for care.
"I think it's a burden for us," he says.
And Runyon says he's pleased that the organization has branched out into the community with its flag football program.
Runyon spent his military years mainly with the Army Corps of Engineers, serving in Dachau and Manheim, Germany, and Fort Sill, Okla.
Born in Sussex, N.J., he went on to graduate with a bachelor's degree in civil engineering from Norwich University, a military school in New Hampshire. When he graduated, he was commissioned as a second lieutenant in the U.S. Army.
After spending five years with the military, he took a job with the Washington State Highway Department, moving on to a job with a land surveying company in Washington. He returned home to New Jersey to work for the engineering firm Buck, Seifert and Jost, where he quickly was assigned to the company's Puerto Rico office.
"Most of it was doing construction work and design and studies for wastewater treatment plants," Runyon says.
During his nine years in Puerto Rico, Runyon met his wife of 36 years, real estate appraiser Elissa Runyon, while she was on a beach vacation from her home in New York.
After the Puerto Rico jobs ended, he made a short foray back to New Jersey before moving to the Virgin Islands in 1978 to work with the V.I. Housing Department. He then served as the project engineer for the Health Department when it built the Myrah Keating Smith Community Health Center on St. John.
His local government career also included jobs with the Public Works Department's road engineering department.
After working as a contract surveyor, he joined the Highway Administration in 1991, working on St. John and in North Carolina, Tennessee, New Jersey and Georgia, with St. John as his home base.
"When they had jobs down here, I got them," he says.
Back Talk Share your reaction to this news with other Source readers. Please include headline, your name and city and state/country or island where you reside.