'We're civil servants': County employee recognized for enthusiasm
February 2, 2017 Times and Democrat article (reprinted with permission)
Article by DIONNE GLEATON T&D Staff Writer
Photo by LARRY HARDY T&D
Melvin Frazier doesn't like negativity. He approaches the tasks and challenges of life in both his professional and personal life with a quiet dignity and, when appropriate, a jovial nature.
Whether he is working in his role as a road maintenance supervisor with Orangeburg County, or making sure his family’s needs are taken care of, Frazier has a heart-warming smile and an encouraging word for those who need it most.
His lively interest in making sure every job is done well while ensuring that those around him are treated with kindness and respect earned the 41-year-old the designation as the example of enthusiasm as part of the Orangeburg County Community of Character initiative last month.
The recognition surprised the January honoree, but he said he understood the importance of having an enthusiastic attitude.
“I just believe in doing people right. When you’re doing something, people should feel like they don’t have to be so uptight around you," Frazier said. "You can kind of relate to people. You got to kind of read them and then you can go from there as to what type of person they are. You try to blend with what you can help them with.”
He and his wife, Cheryl, are the parents of three children, two of whom have passed away. Making sure their lives are filled with happiness and joy is just as important to Frazier as making sure his work environment is pleasant.
“I got a wife and children and grandchildren. I don’t want them to be bored. I want them to enjoy their lives and to be able to interact and do fun things. Nobody likes a bore. Let’s go out and have some fun, but be serious in what you’re doing, though,” he said. “Although you’re having fun, don’t go haywire.”
Frazier added, “It helps when you do things with your family. We like to go fishing and play sports. We’re a sports- and fishing-oriented family. We do a lot of things together and go on vacation when we can.”
As the supervisor of a road maintenance crew, Frazier said dealing with various personalities is one of the job’s challenges. However, he said being enthusiastic about his own job helps makes things easier.
“If you’re feeling bad, I want to make you feel good. I try to see what’s going on to see if there’s anything I can help you with because I was raised to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. It’ll come back to you,” said Frazier, who has also worked in the county’s Community Development Division.
“It’s not always peaches and cream. You just got to take the good with the bad and put the best on the outside, especially working with the public. Sometimes we have problems that we endure ourselves, but negativity doesn’t go well with the public,” he said.
Frazier said people may sometimes be upset about the condition of roads, but professionalism must be maintained.
“People will come upset about many things. Not to say I’m a genius at what I do, but a lot of times they don’t do some of the things that we do. But we try to keep the public’s welfare and interest at hand. We try to do the best as possible for them,” he said.
Having a good group of employees to work with doesn’t hurt either in the effort to keep roads scraped, properly drained, or whatever the need may be, Frazier said.
“It’s a good group of guys. If you ain’t got a good group, you’re in trouble, and I got a good group. I had to train some of them, and some of them have been there for (a while). None of them are very old but, you know, they’re a good group of people,” he said.
It's important to have a good attitude when working with people, he said.
“Nobody likes a grouch. It’s just like complaining. It don’t change nothing and doesn’t do any good so why do it? If it’s something that helps, that’s the best thing to do. You got to be firm in what you do, but at the same time, you don’t have to be like a drill sergeant,” Frazier said.
The Orangeburg resident, who is the son of the late Joe and Lois Frazier, has dealt with the loss of a sister and a son over the past five years, but he said the support of his loving family, including seven living siblings, has helped him get through that and other personal challenges in his life.
“I have a good group of brothers and sisters. We are very close knit by not having a mother and a father. Two of my brothers work for the county. I have one deceased sister, but through it all, if there’s a problem, there ain’t nothing that we can’t talk to each other about,” Frazier said.
He said he tries to instill good character in his own children, while letting them know that they don’t have to be ashamed to admit their mistakes.
“I try to tell them to do unto others as you’d have them do unto you. I try to tell them that what goes around comes back around. You see yourself in your children. You’re like, ‘You just don’t know, but I tried that same trick on your granddaddy,’” Frazier said, smiling.
He said he applauds the OCCOC’s mission to promote good character throughout the county, including among the county employees.
“There are many employees here who bring sincerity, and they bring courage in different things that they do. We’re just common people. Just like our county administrator, Mr. Harold Young; he’s a nice man. I’ve known him for many years in school, and he was a nice person then,” Frazier said.
He added, “We’re citizens. We’re here as civil servants for the county of Orangeburg. We’re supposed to be here to help all in true disaster, or with whatever we can.”