Quiet. Unassuming. Behind the scenes. These words describe one of the most important divisions of the Alabama Farmers Federation. These words also could describe that division’s director, Charlotte Faulkner, who has just completed 40 years of service. No current Federation employee has worked longer.As a dedicated employee, who not only doesn’t seek recognition but actually avoids it, Charlotte has helped membership grow from 83,412 when she came to work part time in March 1963, to more than 440,000 today. Later, she decided to abandon a career in medical technology and did not return to the University of Alabama.Today, she is still happy in her job. “I don’t know anything I would change,” she said. Charlotte worked with one other person in the Membership Division four decades ago but now there are four others–Faye Pittman, Venora Deavers, Darlene Dunlap and Sue McQueeny.”I am very demanding. But I couldn’t ask for a better group of employees,” Charlotte said. “I depend on them. The tremendous job they do enables me to still be happy in the job I do (after 40 years).”Her supervisor, Department of Organization Director Mike Tidwell, has similar words of praise for Charlotte. “She is a loyal, dedicated, knowledgeable asset to our staff. Her work ethic is unsurpassed,” he said.Membership is the lifeblood of a non-profit organization funded by dues. Hundreds of members pay thousands of dollars daily through the Membership Division. Funds flow from membership to state operations, the political action committee and to county Federations.Charlotte has seen a lot of changes in her four decades. She has worked under three different Federation presidents and five different immediate supervisors. New member dues once were collected in county Extension Service offices, she remembers. “Everyone paid their renewal dues at the annual meeting. Back then, no one was assigned a membership number; we worked from insurance policy numbers,” she said.”Of course we didn’t have computers on our desks. We worked from old IBM keypunch cards. And you had to go back to files to find any information. Now it’s at our fingertips,” Charlotte added.Is there life after Alfa for this lady who has never married, and doesn’t have a family waiting for her when she arrives at her Millbrook home in the evening? Of course, she says with confidence, although she has no plans for beginning that retirement. Charlotte is an avid reader of two or more books each week. She likes authors Tom Clancy, Patricia Cornwell and John Grisham. And she is a big Crimson Tide football fan, making all the home games and some nearby away ones. “I love it, but I’m not obnoxious,” she smiles. She even went to the University of Alabama’s “bowl” game this past year in Hawaii. Her regular game companions are her sister and brother-in-law, Erline and John Rodgers of Prattville. Every weekend, she heads to Union Springs to visit and help take care of her 81-year-old mother and 88-year-old father. Sixteen miles from Union Springs, she worships every Sunday at Macedonia Baptist Church, which her great grandparents help start in 1842, and where she joined at age 13. Like the farmers she serves, Charlotte enjoys her independence. Being single allows her “to do what I want to do when I want to do it.” When she arrives home in the evening, she doesn’t even have to feed a pet. Maybe when she retires that will change. “I think I might like to have a bird that would talk to me,” she smiled. But maybe not, she mused, “you can’t really pet a bird.” Perhaps a book on birds would be better.
Faulkner Celebrates 40 Years With Federation