Michael Strong receives city’s Martin Luther King Brotherhood Award

Michael Strong’s crew works to repair a 36-inch water transmission line that ruptured off Warwick Drive on Sept. 20.

City of Fayetteville

FAYETTEVILLE — Michael Strong has received the city’s annual Martin Luther King Brotherhood Award.

The annual recognition was started 20 years ago by City Attorney Kit Williams, who selects a city employee whose service to the community best exemplifies King’s dream of equality, justice, brotherhood and service.

Williams announced this year’s recipient during Tuesday’s City Council meeting.

Strong is a water distribution maintenance worker who was recently placed in the role of interim crew leader as supervisor of a repair crew. Water maintenance crews must be ready at any time of the day all year to repair water main leaks.

Strong and his crew on Sept. 20 were called to repair a massive leak at Makeig Court off Warwick Drive where the rupture of a 36-inch water main line flooded the surrounding streets and led to a request from officials for the entire city to conserve water.

City of Fayetteville

Strong led the crew for 22 straight hours during the repair, which was made more challenging by a torrential downpour that occurred that night and into the morning.

Tim Nyander, the city’s utilities director, said Strong’s positive attitude helped motivate the crew to complete the repair quicker than expected.

Nyander said strong has created “an atmosphere of brotherhood and friendship” within his maintenance division and motivates others by his positive attitude and work ethic.

Williams said in another more recent incident, Strong and another employee left their families on Christmas Day to investigate a drainage problem at a home in Fayetteville.

City Attorney Kit Williams presents the 2022 Martin Luther King Brotherhood Award to Michael Strong.

Fayetteville Government Channel

When they arrived, the two workers discovered that a kitten was trapped in a storm drain and its leash was stuck on a drain tile preventing it from freeing itself. Strong helped free the kitten and return it to its owner.

Williams said Strong is one of many city employees – from clerks to maintenance workers, and patrol officers to truck drivers – who do their jobs with professionalism and efficiency.

“They serve our citizens with courtesy and competency,” Williams said. “It’s been very rewarding to work alongside my fellow city employees.”