FAIRFIELD — Earl Marshall thought the Dec. 19 Board of Selectmen meeting would be a short recognition ceremony. He even told his wife, Michelle, to not bother coming.

So it was a surprise for Marshall when he saw not only his wife, but his four daughters, his sister and his two nieces show up at Penfield Pavilion that night.

“I had no idea what was going on,” Marshall said. “Not even when they called me up to the podium.”

That’s when Marshall, who has worked at the town’s Department of Public Works for 31 years, was announced as the Employee of the Year by First Selectman Mike Tetreau.

“Everyone knew and I was just very grateful,” Marshall said

In another special distinction, Mary Hogue was also honored at the Dec. 19 meeting as Fairfielder of the Year. Hogue was praised for her community involvement and activism.

“I’m really honored, it’s a big deal,” Hogue said. “I was definitely surprised, there’s a lot of people that deserve to be recognized and I wasn’t expecting it.”

Hogue has long been a community advocate and volunteer. She is involved with the Sustainable Fairfield Task Force, co-president of Fairfield PLAN, on the board of League of Women Voters and co-chair of the Connecticut League of Conservation Voters.

Marshall officially retires Jan. 1 after his more than three-decade stint at the Department of Public Works, but took a two-week vacation to Florida with his family as a pre-retirement celebration.

“I’ve got a lot of work to do at the house — the interior needs painting and I’m always running back and forth and helping all my friends,” Marshall said with a chuckle. “So, I will be busy.”

Throughout his public works career, Marshall was involved in all types of activities, ranging from snow plowing, asphalt and paving and work at the Smith Richardson Golf Course.

“My thing is that we work for the people,” Marshall said, explaining his philosophy on his tenure and projects. “For me, it was always about how you would want this type of work to be done if someone was doing it to your house. There’s no complaining if you do it that way.”

Meanwhile, Hogue continues to focus on her environmental efforts, keeping the town and residents in mind.

“Fairfield is a really amazing town in many ways,” Hogue said. “We get the top honors for the Fairfield Sustainable Task Force Program and we’re continuing to improve with more and more ways of saving money for the taxpayer, and also being thoughtful about the impact on the environment.”

humberto.juarez@hearstmediact.com