From judges to janitors, everyone in Gadsden County government knows Eugene and Glen Wood. The two silver-haired brothers leave people smiling wherever they go.The eldest, Eugene, is the comedian of the pair and has a ready quip for just about anything at any time. Glen is the quieter of the two, but he can also bring a smile.
The two started working for Gadsden County 8 years ago as construction maintenance workers after careers building houses together in Calhoun and Liberty counties declined.
"We were self-employed licensed contractors. We've built a lot of homes. We built the home for the president of the Apalachicola Northern Railroad. When the paper mill in Port St. Joe closed down and people were laid off, there wasn't much in the way of construction down there," Eugene said.
The construction industry's loss was Gadsden County's gain. The level of skill they bring to the county, according to Spencer Bowen, facilities director, has saved the county thousands of dollars.
"We do everything. If there is a problem we can fix it. We re-hung all of the doors in the old courthouse. We repaint and refurbish to make old buildings look almost new. Most of the work in the courthouse, we did. We check leaks, repair roofs, paint and drop ceilings. You name it, we do it," said Glen.
"I like the way they work and I like the way that anybody in the county likes to see them coming. Not because they are coming to fix a problem, but because they are great guys. It's a joy to be their supervisor," Bowen said.
Neither brother ever remembers not building things with their hands. The brothers say they "just picked it up." Eugene said he would take the empty thread spools and turn them into wheels for cars they made themselves. They built all of their toys when they were were growing up.
But, according to Eugene, they were small tykes no more than 5 or 6 when their first major job came along. They bought a 4-H pig for $5 but with no car, they needed to get the pig home.
"We had to go and get the pig. All we had was a red wagon with no sides. We built up the sides and made a little pull up door so the pig couldn't get out. We went and got our pig and brought him home safely," Eugene said.
The rest, as they say, is history. There has been no stopping the Wood brothers and their talent to create and build. Just last week they built all of the shelving to hold medical records at the hospital.
"Nobody wants to do what's considered small jobs anymore. If you hire a contractor, some of them get the job and do a little bit over here and a little bit over there and leave. It's different with us because we never to the same thing every day. It's always a new challenge. When they call us we go," Glen said.
The brothers grew up with eight siblings on a 27-acre farm in Liberty County near Lake Mystic. Eugene gets a kick out of telling folks that his daddy asked the Lord for three kids and he got the other five on his own.The brothers live about 4 miles apart and have always worked as a team. They don't argue because, they say, they know what each other is thinking.
They drive to work together each morning from their homes in Liberty County. They come back on Wednesday evenings for prayer service and on Sunday for regular church service at First Assembly of God Church on East Jefferson Street.
"Our faith is what sustains us. We were raised up in a Christian and religious home. A church is no better than its people. There are good people in that church. I have seen what God can do. I have seen people go down at that altar and get up as new people," Glen said.
They both have wives and adult children.
Glen's wife, Marsha, is Liberty County's Supervisor of Elections. They have been married 31 years and he calls them the best 31 years of his life. His daughter and son are graduates of Florida State University holding degrees in nursing and management information systems respectively. All of his spare time, he said, is spent with his family.
Eugene's wife, Barbara, is the Deputy Clerk of the Courts in Liberty County. His children also graduated from FSU. Among the five he can count an attorney, a teacher, an air traffic controller, a son in the funeral home business and a daughter who is a beautician in Columbus, Ga., while her husband serves in Iraq.
Eugene like to hunt and fish and take care of his bulldogs. While they love working and worshiping in Quincy, there are no plans to leave what their homes in what they refer to as "God's country."