Charlyne Fuller retires from City of Dacula
By Katie Hart Smith
Serving the citizens of Dacula for over three decades, Charlyne Fuller will officially retire from the City of Dacula on April, 27, 2016.
The beloved receptionist and customer service representative began her role in 1982. According to Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, “Charlyne has been the voice of Dacula and the face you see when you visit City Hall. She is charismatic, a problem solver, and is very empathetic to the needs of her customers. She laughs, cries, and even prays with them. Her best attribute is that her soft answer turns away anger.”
Taking much pride in her job, Fuller beamed, smiled, and said, “People used to come into City Hall so angry and ready to complain. After I spent time talking with them and I put myself in their shoes, most often they forgot what they came to see us for.”
Fuller is native to Dacula, living there since she was two years of age. Dubbed, “Little Miss Dacula,” she remembered riding her tricycle up and down the streets. Her daughter, Charesa Hulsey, nudged her while we sat together in the Gwinnett County Public Library - Dacula Branch for the interview. “Mom, don’t you even have a footprint in the concrete floor of one of the old downtown buildings?” Fuller winked and whispered, “Why, yes I do!”
Fuller’s family roots run deep in this town. Her grandfather, Al McMillan cut the road through a cotton patch that is now known as McMillan Road. “I have a lot of history here in Dacula. There is even a street named after me called Charlyne Way in one of our community’s subdivisions.”
Left: (from L to R) Charlyne Fuller (Right) with her daughter, Charesa Hulsey (Left), and sister, Karen Towler (Back Row)
With a population of over 4,000 citizens, Dacula continues to grow, and Fuller has had the opportunity to engage with so many of the citizens over the years. “I started this job in the old City Hall building on Highway 29, now known as Winder Highway. I still live on the same street that I grew up on. Not many people can say that these days. I’ve only had to drive three minutes to work. When it snowed, I just walked.”
“When people came in [to City Hall], I greeted them. I came across all kinds of people and circumstances. I would try to help them with their needs. Some would just need a shoulder to cry on. People would call mad. I tried to let them know God was there with us to help. I even prayed with some. The city marshals would say, ‘Charlyne knows everyone in town.’ I guess when you have lived here all your life, that is what happens.” Fuller concluded, “I will always have a smile on my face and a song in my heart.”
When asked what she will miss most about her job, Fuller said, “I feel like I am friends with so many people with my connection with the City Hall. The people I work with are like family to me. I feel blessed to have been able to work and do what I enjoyed the most, [which] is caring about the people. I want to say thank you to Mayor Jimmy Wilbanks, City Administrator Joey Murphy, and all of the staff for the wonderful thirty-four years at the Dacula City Hall.”
Fuller’s service was celebrated at the City Council meeting on April, 7, 2016. The Mayor presented her with the City Council’s Appreciation plaque and the Mayor’s 2016 “Movers and Shakers” award.
In her spare time, Fuller loves to sing and enjoys spending Saturday evenings listing to bluegrass and country music at Everett’s Music Barn in Suwanee. Accompanied by her sister, Karen Towler, the McMillan sisters can be found sitting on the front row of those weekend concerts. On Sundays, the soprano participates in her church choir. Fuller recalled, “I use to sit in my grandma’s lap as a child and she would sing to me. I think she put a song in my heart.” She also likes to travel north to Hiawassee, Georgia to participate and sing in the music festivals that are held in July and October.
Looking forward to spending more time with family and her grandsons, Chance and Slade, in this new chapter of her life, Fuller laughed and said, “There is one thing I can’t wait to do. I’m not setting the alarm clock anymore!”
For more information about the City of Dacula, visit: http://daculaga.gov