The roses started arriving soon after IV Rutledge came to work at the Walker County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, and they kept coming until she had 100 of them.Co-workers had several surprises in …
The roses started arriving soon after IV Rutledge came to work at the Walker County Sheriff's Office on Wednesday, and they kept coming until she had 100 of them.
Co-workers had several surprises in store for Rutledge, who turns 82 on Saturday. In addition to the barrage of flower deliveries, friend and chief jail clerk Misty Crafton arranged for Rutledge's family members to sneak in for a surprise birthday party.
The lady known to all as Miss IV has worked for four sheriffs — Joe Robertson, John Mark Tirey, Jim Underwood and Nick Smith.
She came to work at the invitation of Robertson, who was a neighbor of hers.
The finance company where she worked for 29 years had recently been sold. Rutledge thought Robertson was joking when he offered her a job in his office.
"A few weeks later, he said, 'I thought you were coming to work,' and I said, 'Well, I thought you were kidding,'" Rutledge said.
Rutledge spent 25 years working as a clerk on the sheriff's side before making the transfer to the jail side under Smith.
Some pistol permit holders who have arranged their renewals through her for years were disappointed when they learned that she had moved from the second floor to downstairs.
"I love meeting people and talking to them, and it gives me something to do," she said.
Finding something to do has never been a problem she has faced.
Rutledge goes to the gym daily. She cuts her own grass and keeps up with her housecleaning. She's active in her church.
For many years, Rutledge treated her co-workers to a home-cooked breakfast each Monday.
On Saturdays in the fall, she can be found in her season seats at Jordan-Hare stadium cheering on her beloved Auburn Tigers. (Passengers who make the trip with her are not allowed to wear red under any circumstances.)
Rutledge, who has been attending games regularly since 1988, became an Auburn fan because of her aunt, though most of her family members cheer for the Crimson Tide.
She always arrives early for games and used to tailgate but she has since given it up.
Though several of her former co-workers have retired in recent years, Rutledge doesn't have plans to leave anytime soon. She's content where she is.
"I think everybody should work as long as they can," she said.