Alsup says so long to local agricultural extension office   

By Thomas Wilson
star staff
twilson@starhq.com

  Elizabethton City Councilwoman Nancy Alsup is leaving her day job. Alsup retired on Wednesday as senior secretary at the University of Tennessee Agricultural Extension office in Elizabethton after more than 48 years of employment there.
  "Right now, I just have to get used to the idea of not working," Alsup said during a retirement reception held at the extension office Wednesday afternoon honoring her service.
  The second youngest of Harrison and Annie Edens' 10 children, Alsup, along with her five brothers and four sisters, grew up in the Milligan community. She graduated from Happy Valley High School and got her foot in the door at the agriculture extension office when a county employee asked her father if she was interested in a part-time job.
  "I didn't have a job at the time, so I said 'yes'," she laughed.
  After nine months, she was offered a full-time opportunity as office secretary. "Mr. (Claude) Norris, the county agent at the time, asked me if I was interested in full-time," said Alsup, "and I've been here ever since."
  The office correlates state operations pertaining to agriculture, 4-H, Family and Consumer Services, and County Resource Development. Alsup joined the office in 1956 when agriculture dominated the county and state's economy. The office sold produce and crops to raise money for educational programs.
  "When I first started here, the county agent's office sold farm products and anyone who wanted it could buy it," she said. "We sold broccoli, lettuce, cauliflower; you name it."
  Along the way, she worked for two county agents, seven assistant agents, and seven 4-H agents. Alsup wistfully recalled a time when farming provided the sole means of support for hundreds of county residents - a far fewer number than in today's "service-based economy" era.
  "When I began working, a lot of people farmed for a living," she said, "but we don't have many farmers any more."
  Alsup was married to the late Gordon Hughes and the late Daniel "Tuck" Alsup, former chief of the Elizabethton Police Department. With the encouragement of co-workers and friends, she entered public service by running for and winning a four-year term to City Council in 1996.
  Alsup's straightforward style as a council member has proven popular with city voters. She won her second term to council in 2000 garnering over 2,600 votes from Elizabethton citizens.
  "I love Elizabethton," she said. "It is a beautiful place and I was willing to do anything I could to improve it. Being on City Council eight years, I feel like some of my goals have been accomplished."
  Alsup presently serves on the Elizabethton Regional Planning Commission and Board of Zoning Appeals, the board of directors for the city Parks and Recreation department, and on the board of the Elizabethton Carter County Boys and Girls Club. She also previously served on the Elizabethton-Carter County Economic Development Commission and Elizabethton Electric System board of directors.
  Alsup said she plans to devote more time working on city government issues and some free time working around her West Mill Street residence.