BLACKFOOT – April 30 will be a day for the record books for one City of Blackfoot employee, as he walks through the doors of city hall one more time before hanging it up. Richard Mangum, Blackfoot Public Works Director, will be retiring from a career of nearly 38 years.
Mangum started on June 8, 1981, taking a job as a laborer for the water department, beginning a career that he could never have imagined would land him where he sits today. From the get-go, Mangum took to the job laid before him, learning the ropes and tackling tasks put before him, rising through the ranks, and finding himself at the helm of the Blackfoot Water Department. Mangum worked for the water department for nearly 33 years before making the change to be the public works director. Former mayor, Paul Loomis, approached him about the public works position, so Mangum pondered with the idea before accepting the offer, which presented multiple changes in Blackfoot.
Since Mangum started in this new position, his office has been at City Hall, and he has carried out duties set before him to the best of his abilities.
Mangum has received multiple accolades throughout the years from Idaho State University for Backhoe Operation to awards of recognition from the American Waterworks Association (AWWA) including the Silver Droplet award for being a member for 30 years. Mangum sought out certifications that at the time were not mandatory, such as the Water Operators License where he was the 184 person in the state to receive this certification and was the 88 person to receive the cross-connection certification.
With the date drawing ever closer, Mangum will be spending some time cleaning out his office while other members of the city schedule a retirement party for him on April 30 from 2 p.m. to 4 p.m. with open invitations for all of the public to wish him a happy farewell. The event will be held in the City Hall council chambers.
Mangum is selling his home in Blackfoot and will be retiring to Mackay, where he will spend his days riding ATVs, fishing, and hunting.
Some of the more memorable moments during his time with the city come from some of the scarier times. Mangum, alongside fellow city employees Gary Chaffin, Vernon Cannon, and others worked day and night during the spring of 1997 to do whatever they could to prevent Blackfoot from flooding. Every waking moment they spent working to keep the Snake River at bay, up to and including when the Blackfoot Police came through his neighborhood evacuating the homes, as they believed that the levee would no longer hold. Even after this evacuation took place, Mangum, Chaffin, Cannon, and the rest of the crew involved kept working diligently, eventually winning the battle against mother nature and preventing Blackfoot from flooding.
Another memorable moment that happened during his time with the city involved the Valentine's Day microburst that ripped through town, toppling trees up and down Shilling Avenue. The power was out, pumps were down, and cruising through the city to restart the water pumps by hand, was just another day in the office for him.
Mangum spent a lot of his time outside of work coaching his son's little league baseball teams and football teams, never missing a game or practice. He enrolled his son in hunter's safety at age 12 and began taking him hunting that fall for deer. They have been life long buddies, hunting, fishing, riding, camping and the like together, and will continue to do so in Mangum's retirement. He would even travel to his son's high school debate tournaments and observe, in efforts to be supportive.
Mangum has a daughter as well, with a daughter of her own. He loves spending time with them camping, fishing, and riding.
Mangum has two wonderful stepchildren, Amber and Chris. Although getting not able to spend as much time as he would like with his stepson, the time he does get to spend with him, they take advantage. Chris lives in Hawaii and has lived in multiple places throughout the United States as a member of the US Army.
Amber lives in Shelley, and is around as often as possible, and joins in on the family camping, fishing, and riding trips when she can.
Mangum is married to Shelley, and they will be moving to Mackay as soon as possible, following his retirement.
Mangum has eight grandchildren from his children and stepchildren and cherishes the time he spends with them.
Now that retirement is here; the work shall begin.