After 70 years, local GE Aviation employee shows no signs of slowing down on the job

Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years a

GE Aviation honored longtime employee Doris Harakay on Friday as she celebrated working 70 years in the same industry through five company and job position changes.

Harakay, 89, came to the company in 1951 when she was 18 where she worked on the assembly line making 89 cents an hour. She was honored with gifts, awards, certificates and some of her favorite candy by her coworkers and Vandalia Mayor Richard Herbst. The city of Vandalia also proclaimed Feb. 20 as Doris Harakay Day.

“I think we are all very impressed. I am honored to come and share this moment with you,” said Herbst.

Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.
Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Friends and family showed their appreciation for Harakay with a parade, awards, letters from law makers, gift baskets, more chocolate than she could eat, and a video of coworkers featuring Gov. Mike Dewine congratulating her. She strolled through the plant with a decked out cart adorned with red decorations, gold balloons and a print out of a Cadillac emblem on the front as her coworkers cheered for her and thanked her for her service.

Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.
Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

“It’s been a wonderful journey,” she said.

Her career began in 1951 at Leland Electric Company in Dayton which moved to Vandalia in 1957. The company would change ownership four more times until 2007 when it became GE Aviation. Harakay came to the company seeking a way to make more money for her family as her husband prepared to leave for war.

Harakay currently works in the stock room and said the people and the job itself is what has kept her at the company over the last 70 years.

“You all put the smile on my face. It is fun and I wouldn’t be here all this time but this is my family too and I love having a family like this,” she said.

Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.
Surrounded by her coworkers, Doris Harakay, 89, parades through GE plant in Vandalia Friday morning Feb.19, 2021. Harakay has worked at the plant for 70 years and the company throw a party for her and her family. She doesn't plan to retire.

Credit: JIM NOELKER

Credit: JIM NOELKER

GE plant manager Jesse Baker has known Harakay for 19 years and said her positive energy is contagious and she brings a smile to those that meet her. “It’s just been our pleasure and she’s an amazing woman. She acts like she’s 25. She got the wit and the attitude and the energy of somebody a quarter of her age.”

Her oldest daughter, Carla Humfleet, said she is proud of her mother for her accomplishment. “She can outwork any of us. She just goes goes, and goes. I am so proud of her but on the other hand I am still in awe because there’s just no way,” she said.

Harakay said she has no plans to retire just yet and said she’ll be back to work on Monday.

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