submitted by Kenneth Dickey, Shop Manager, Highway Transport Knoxville:

A large crowd joined together to recognize Willis Haun for a great 27 year run @Highway Transport. Certified tank builder, certified welder at all phases, and machinist. Tomorrow is his last day. This is his going away meal that I prepared for him. His workmanship will be missed and probably irreplaceable.

  • lamb chop
  • rib eye steak
  • sausage ball with boiled
  • egg in the center
  • perch and trout fish
  • smoked chicken
  • smoked sausage w/beans
  • collard greens
  • broccoli cauliflower
  • medley with cheese sauce
  • big baked potato
  • cornbread and rolls

Willis Haun pictured with his special farewell meal prepared by Kenny

Willis Haun’s Rolex Ceremony in 2016

After 20+ Years, Willis Haun served many years and retired in 2018 as a mechanic in the shop of Highway Transport in Knoxville, Tennessee. When he first started, Willis performed more engine rebuilds, but now an engine rebuild is a rare event. Most of the time, the shop performs repairs. Sometimes, when parts are not readily available, Willis fabricates parts…a rare skill in today’s mechanical realm.

Willis Haun and Greg Watkins
The 20th Anniversary Rolex Ceremony officially commemorates 20 years of service. However, Willis Haun’s dedication to Highway Transport began when he started in 1991. Willis worked for 5 years, was laid off for 6 months, then re-hired. Due to company policies of that era, Willis’ official workplace marking of time started over.

Highway Transport has profited greatly from Willis Haun’s expertise, and it is time—actually 5 years overdue—to officially commemorate Willis’ 20-Year Work Anniversary with a Rolex watch Ceremony.

Knoxville Terminal Manager Joe Sheldon says, “I’ve worked with Willis scheduling the equipment he repairs. There’s been more than one occasion where Willis has pulled me out of a log jam. I’d run out there to the shop saying ‘Willis, PLEASE, can you get this done today. I know it is a 2-day job’ and he’d stay over and finish it. Any time I’ve ever asked him to pull something through at the last minute, he got it done, he accomplished it, and he continues to be great asset to Highway Transport.”

Working as a highly skilled mechanic in Highway Transport’s Knoxville shop, Willis Haun continues to make things move. Clearly, it was WAY past time to commemorate Willis’ 20-year milestone.

Whether you’re talking about 20 Years or a 25th Silver Anniversary the official day was celebrated on February 18, 2016 with a Rolex watch ceremony + a huge crowd that holds Willis in the highest regard.

“I do appreciate Willis—personally—because he has done a lot for me, personally, and I really appreciate him.” adds Joe Sheldon.
Highway Transport Chemical President Gary Reagan says, “Willis, You’ve worked on a lot of equipment, turned a lot of wrenches in those 20 years, I think the thing that I would say is, you’ve always been there. We’ve always been able to count on you and we just hope that you’ll stay another 20 years with us.”

Greg Watkins, Vice Chairman, is a member of the Watkins family who founded Highway Transport. Greg says, “Willis I appreciate it, and from my family, your dedication really means a lot. Your hard work and all the good things that you’ve done and contributed to this company and will continue to. 20 years is a long time, and we appreciate everything that you’ve done for the company and as a token, we give you a Rolex.”

Rolex presented to Willis Haun

Willis says, “I appreciate it, sir. Thank you. This is a great place to work. If it wasn’t I wouldn’t have hung around another 20 years”

Greg replies “It’s a great place because we’ve got people like you.”

“It’s the people you work with too.” agrees Haun

Willis and Billy who have worked together for many years in the Knoxville shop

above: Billy (pictured left) and Willis (right) have worked side by side for several years at the Knoxville shop.

Greg continues, “We thank you and your whole family. I mean family’s important. They got you this far.”

“Sorry Willie, no hot wings.” jokes Kenneth Dickey, Knoxville Shop Manager.

“We’ll have cake and ice cream.” says Willis

Cake for Willis' 20 Year Rolex Watch Ceremony

Kenneth continues, “One day when you leave here, your job may be filled, but your shoes will not. Your experience…you taught me a lot, plus everyone else that you’ve taught. This is the man of the hour here. When it comes to tanks, he knows it. Nobody know ‘em like Willie knows ‘em.”

Willis says of his wife, “I don’t know what I’d do without her.” He continues, “My wife’s mom is 86. My wife’s dad is 94. Her dad is actually doing well and still drives.”

Willis and his wife have two children—a daughter aged 34 and a son 33—Willis comments, “Our ‘kids’ are both doing well and working, so we are really blessed.”

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