Spirit of Alabama: Retired, but far from not working
If you’ve lived around Tuscaloosa for a while, odds are good you’ve at least heard the name Sammy Watson.
He’s known for a lot of things, including a radio announcing gig that’s spanned four decades, time on the Tuscaloosa City Council, or for spending more than 26 years working for DCH Health System.
Watson recently retired from DCH after serving as director of community relations.
“I think as far as my pride in (DCH), two occasions come to mind that are more significant than almost anything else,” Watson said. “After the (April 27, 2011) tornado when we took care of a thousand patients between that night and the next morning, and then, of course, COVID.”
It was a lot of effort as hospital employees took care of an influx of patients while often working with even fewer co-workers because they were also stricken with the illness.
“I probably got more compliments about DCH and the way our staff treated them when they came driving through there in their car to get a shot,” Watson said.
But retirement from DCH doesn’t mean Watson will sit at home doing nothing. He’s always stayed busy.
When the city of Tuscaloosa changed its form of government back in 1985, Watson served for 10 years on the first-ever city council.
But his real love is radio. His first job was at WNPT in Tuscaloosa, and he worked full-time in radio for 25 years. That love never went anywhere, even when he went to DCH.
He’s still on the radio, playing country oldies from 10 a.m. to 3 p.m. every weekday for 92.1 The Possum.
The thought of moving away from Tuscaloosa rarely crossed his mind, he said.
“It’s the perfect blend of education, health care, great people,” he said. “It’s a giving community. Typically, if we have problems here or problems elsewhere, Tuscaloosa folks are some of the first to step up.”
Watson and his wife Debbie have been married for 40 years. He’ll keep doing his daily radio shift amid volunteering for several local organizations.
“I think my life is about perfect right now, as far as the balance between having time to do some fun stuff and working,” he said.
But is it really work if you enjoy it? Watkins plans on staying involved for a long, long time.
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