History & Staff

We have years of experience caring for families, from all walks of life. Each family comes to us because they know we are leaders in our profession, dedicated to excellence in service, and have the highest integrity.

1780

The history of Spring Hill dates back to the 1780s when the first settlers moved in from the Cumberland settlement into an area six miles east of Nashville called Haysboro.

1813

The grounds were designated as Craighead Spring Hill Cemetery, named after Rev. Thomas B. Craighead.

1888

A company of gentlemen chartered Spring Hill Cemetery for the sale of lots and marketed it as a modern final resting place. These directors drew up the rules of governing, maintaining and protecting the lots, monuments, and procedures of interment.

1925

As the city grew, the population spread outward encompassing the surrounding counties. A modern downtown area with skyscrapers, city park systems, electric street cars, automobiles and entertainment centers made Nashville a thriving city in the early 1900s. In 1925, the Grand Ole Opry was born and Nashville would soon become known as Music City. Today several members of the Opry are interred and memorialized within the gates of historic Spring Hill.

1934

J. Taylor Stratton, a prominent stockholder, businessman and civic leader, spearheaded the management and growth of Spring Hill for 30 years. In 1934, Mary Stratton, Stratton’s daughter became president of the cemetery. Known as Miss Mary, she established new roads, statuary, plantings, and other improvements to the property.

1991

After the death of Mary Stratton's husband, Dr. James Hayes, a beloved Nashville physician, managed the operations of Spring Hill Cemetery. In 1991 he stepped down to President Emeritus and turned operations over to his son Rev. Jim Hayes. Rev. Hayes, a well known member of the clergy, worked hard to fulfill his mother’s legacy and serve the community.

1998

After Rev. Hayes’ sudden death in 1994 and Dr. Hayes’ death in 1996, the Rev. Hayes’ widow Marylyn Poteete Hayes and her daughters operated Spring Hill for many years. In the late 1990s they began working with funeral directors to design and construct a state of the art funeral home to better service their community.

Ground breaking occurred in June of 1997 and in 1998 the doors of Spring Hill Funeral Home were opened.

2017

Today Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery is one of the largest funeral and cemetery providers in Nashville, it’s wide open spaces dotted with majestic trees and beautiful flower gardens offer tranquility and beauty not only to the families it serves but to the community as a whole.

Spring Hill: Where Tranquility Meets Beauty

Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery is one of the most beautiful landmarks of Nashville. Its wide open spaces dotted with majestic trees and beautiful flower gardens offer tranquility and beauty not only to the families it serves but to the community as a whole.

The history of Spring Hill dates back to the 1780s when the first settlers moved in from the Cumberland settlement into an area six miles east of Nashville called Haysboro. The land offered fertile soil for their crops and a plentiful steady water source from several springs. Needing a church and school, James Robertson persuaded the Princeton educated Reverend Thomas B. Craighead of Mecklenburg, North Carolina, to move to Haysboro as a preacher and teacher. With a promise of 640 acres of land he arrived in 1785. The settlers had built a log house on the property for him and his family.

Nashville: A Center for Learning

Within a year, a gathering place for the Spring Hill community was constructed. It was a 24 foot by 30 foot building made from native stone. Here Reverend Craighead preached on Sundays and taught school during the week. It was known as the Spring Hill Meeting House and established the first Presbyterian Church in this territory. The school was called Davidson Academy and was chartered by an act of the North Carolina Legislature in 1785. It was called “An Act for the Promotion of Learning in Davidson County”. It also laid the foundation for the evolution of Nashville as an educational center.

By 1800, Nashville had grown from a string of forts located along various waterways to a thriving little town. It boasted a post office, newspaper, several stores and taverns, and Davidson Academy. In 1806, Davidson Academy was named Davidson College and had moved across the river to College Hill. Several years later when Thomas B. Craighead was replaced by James Preistly , the name was changed again to Cumberland College. The church yard was used as a community burying ground. In 1813, it was designated Craighead Spring Hill Cemetery. 

The Civil War Years

Tennessee was divided during the Civil War: 167,000 men served in Confederate Gray while 31,000 in Union Blue. Nashville felt the effects of the war but fortunately was spared the devastation other southern cities faced. Trees were gone and the land scarred by Union occupation. As with the case of church or privately held burial grounds, Spring Hill Cemetery had fallen into decay. 

Recovery from the war took many years. New people arrived, transportation and trade revived, especially with the westward expansion of the railroads. The population increased three times from the pre-war era. Life was full of optimism and Nashville became the 4th largest city in the South. 

In 1888, a company of gentlemen chartered Spring Hill Cemetery for the sale of lots and marketed it as a modern final resting place. These directors drew up the rules of governing, maintaining and protecting the lots, monuments, and procedures of interment. 

Times of Change

As the city grew, the population spread outward encompassing the surrounding counties. A modern downtown area with skyscrapers, city park systems, electric street cars, automobiles and entertainment centers made Nashville a thriving city in the early 1900s. In 1925, the Grand Ole Opry was born and Nashville would soon become known as Music City. Today several members of the Opry are interred and memorialized within the gates of historic Spring Hill. 

Change accelerated with WWII. The war strengthened and rejuvenated the economy stimulating social change. Civil rights and the advent of radio and country music contributed to the freedom of expression. More industry arrived and contributed to the booming economy – banking, automobile manufacturing, printing and publishing, and government. Nashville emerged as the Athens of the South. 

The Legacy of Visionary Citizens

Spring Hill Cemetery continued to grow – additional property was acquired and a system for record keeping was introduced as facilities expanded. J. Taylor Stratton, a prominent stockholder, businessman and civic leader, spearheaded the management and growth of Spring Hill for 30 years. He was an enthusiastic and dedicated member of the school board and he was responsible for developing the county high school system. J. Taylor Stratton School was named in his honor. 

In 1934, Mary Stratton, Stratton’s daughter became president of the cemetery. Known as Miss Mary, she established new roads, statuary, plantings, and other improvements to the property. After her death her husband Dr. James Hayes, a beloved Nashville physician, managed the operations of Spring Hill Cemetery. In 1991 he stepped down to President Emeritus and turned operations over to his son Rev. Jim Hayes. Rev. Hayes, a well known member of the clergy, worked hard to fulfill his mother’s legacy and serve the community. 

After Rev. Hayes’ sudden death in 1994 and Dr. Hayes’ death in 1996, the Rev. Hayes’ widow Marylyn Poteete Hayes and her daughters operated Spring Hill for many years. In the late 1990s they began working with funeral directors to design and construct a state of the art funeral home to better service their community. 

Ground breaking occurred in June of 1997 and in 1998 the doors of Spring Hill Funeral Home were opened. The funeral home now stands on Spring Hill Cemetery’s north eastern border overlooking Gallatin Pike. As one of the largest funeral and cemetery providers in Nashville, and with its historic association with the community, Spring Hill continues to occupy a special place in the hearts and minds of Nashville’s citizens. 

Today Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery is one of the largest funeral and cemetery providers in Nashville, it’s wide open spaces dotted with majestic trees and beautiful flower gardens offer tranquility and beauty not only to the families it serves but to the community as a whole.

Our Valued Staff

Tara Jones Bessling

Tara Jones Bessling

General Manager, Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Tara Bessling joined the Spring Hill staff 11 years ago and is the General Manager. She is a member of Long Hollow Baptist Church, the 2013 past president of the Madison Rivergate Chamber of Commerce, on the Board of Directors for King's Daughters Child Development Center and a member of the Tennessee Funeral Director's Association. Tara graduated from John A. Gupton Mortuary College with a degree in Mortuary Science and was previously in the funeral industry for 23 years. Tara is married to her husband Gary and they have two children Callie & Matthew. When we asked what attracted Tara to this field, She said: “As a child, I had wanted to be a part of the funeral industry, I feel it is a calling.” When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Tara said: “The most important and rewarding part of my job is to help families through their darkest moments. It is an honor to work at Spring Hill and serve the families of middle Tennessee.”

Javier Zavarce

Javier Zavarce

Sales Manager

Samuel Brewer

Samuel Brewer

Location Chapel Manager, Licensed Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Samuel joined our staff in August 2016 as a funeral director/embalmer. He is a native of Southeastern Kentucky and holds an active funeral director/embalmer's license in Kentucky also. He is a graduate of Mid-America College of Funeral Service. Samuel is married to Kelsie and they reside in Hendersonville. .

When asked why did you choose the funeral profession as a career, he replied, "I am living out my childhood dream. Since I was five years old, I have wanted to become a funeral director. My grandfather was a minister and I would shadow him when he would minister funerals; I would always pay attention to the strict detail that the funeral director would take part in. I have a great respect and love for people and enjoy helping them during their most tragic times of life.

"Everyday that I enter the doors of Spring Hill, I realize that this is much more than a job; being a funeral director is indeed a calling. I am honored to be able to be a part of a great group of professionals here at Spring Hill, who take serving each family to a whole new level and serve with dignity, professionalism, compassion and personalized service; after all, that's what we are called to do".

Ashley David

Ashley David

Combo Office Manager
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Ashley David joined the staff at Spring Hill in March 2018. She holds an MBA from Columbia College, MO and has over 10 years of administrative office experience. Ashley is married and has 4 fur babies. She enjoys spending time with her family, reading, and boating.

Ashley is new to the industry, but was attracted because of her passion for helping others.

Jim  Jones

Jim Jones

Cemetery Superintendent & Grounds Manager
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Jim Jones joined Spring Hill in the maintenance department 6 years ago and is the park Superintendent. Jim has 30 years of previous experience. When we asked what attracted Jim to this field, He said: “My daughter is employed here.”

Suzanne  Angel-Griggs

Suzanne Angel-Griggs

Director of First Impressions
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Suzanne was previously a letter carrier for the US postal service for 25 years. When we asked what attracted Suzanne to this field, She said: “I love people and consider it an honor to come a long beside them and help through the hardest moments of their lives.” Suzanne is the proud mom of four children and four grandchildren. She enjoys working with children , her garden, hiking and reading. When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Suzanne said: “When you have helped a family through the visitation and funeral and they prepare to leave and feel like part of your family… when the final hugs and tears feel like the beginning of a friendship.”

Randy Watson

Randy Watson

Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Randy Watson, joined the Spring Hill staff in March of 2016 as a funeral director/embalmer. He is currently licensed in Texas and Oklahoma. Randy graduated from Texas Tech University with a BBA in Marketing as well as earning a degree in mortuary science from Commonwealth Institute of Funeral Service.

Randy has four sons and 4 grandchildren.

My calling to the funeral industry came later in life. I am most proud of developing on-going relationships with the families I have served and by creating memories which reflect a person's life.

I am blessed to be a part of the Spring Hill family and to be able to live the "Promise" and philosophy that is the guiding force at Spring Hill.

Alexandria Sibley-Holt

Alexandria Sibley-Holt

Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Graduated from John A. Gupton Mortuary College with a degree in mortuary science. Alexandria has been in the funeral industry for 3 years with a focus on restorative arts.

Alexandria chose this profession as she feels like it's a calling. Being able to help families through some of the most difficult times they will face and give them the guidance they need in order to move on.

Jason Quesenberry

Jason Quesenberry

Funeral Director & Embalmer
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I joined Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery in 2018. I was born and raised around my grandfather's funeral homes in southern West Virginia. I enjoy hunting, fishing, good music and good food. I'm proudly continuing a family tradition. I'm a 3rd generation of my family to serve families.

Scott Keel

Scott Keel

Funeral Director & Embalmer
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Scott joined the staff of Spring Hill initially as a funeral director and embalming apprentice after completing his degree in Mortuary Science at John A. Gupton College in Nashville. Scott previously worked as a pediatric cardiac perfusion assistant at Vanderbilt Children's Hospital for six years and as a supervisor for the Organ and Tissue Recovery Team in Ohio and Tennessee for nine years. When asked what attracted him to funeral services, he said: “My grandfather passed away when I was young and I had a lot of questions about what the next steps were and when I was going to see him again. Our local funeral home was owned and operated by a family friend who helped me to understand the next steps my family needed to take. It was then that I realized that I wanted to be a part of funeral services and help families like mine during one of the most difficult times in their life.”

Outside of work, Scott enjoys making improvements around his house, spending time with his two dogs and going to the lake. When asked to give the proudest moment in his profession, Scott said: “Each family that I am able to serve gives me the greatest sense of pride knowing that I have done everything that I can to ease the pain of when a loved one is lost.”

Valeria Vanderpool

Valeria Vanderpool

Funeral Director / Embalmer Apprentice

David Paul Thain

David Paul Thain

Family Service Counselor
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David Thain joined the Spring Hill team January 2015 & has 2 yrs of experience in the profession.

David's mission is helping families create a memorable life celebration for their loved one. Helping people through difficult times in their lives. Really rewarding career offering compassion, support and guidance to others through challenging times. During my personal time I enjoy fitness, health & wellness, biking, hiking, yoga and cooking. I am also a musician, vocalist and pianist. Piano influences: Floyd Cramer, Jerry Lee Lewis Vocal influences: Elvis, Merle Haggard, Keith Whitley

Jessica Beigert

Jessica Beigert

Family Service Counselor
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Born and raised in Jacksonville, FL..moved to Nashville in 2001. I spent 14 years working in the music industry but switched focus to build new relationships on the community level. She is happily married to Tony and they have 2 girls, 1 boy, and a grand baby. She enjoys her time off with her family. My heart loves working with families on their toughest day. It's simply my passion.

Jane Hughes

Jane Hughes

Family Service Advisor

Vivian Gutierrez

Vivian Gutierrez

Family Service Advisor

Jack A. Jenkins

Jack A. Jenkins

Family Service Advisor

Xavier Nathan

Xavier Nathan

Family Service Advisor
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Xavier was born and raised in Paris France. He moved to Nashville in July 2017 from Los Angeles California after being in the music industry as a songwriter for 20 years. Today Xavier lives in Nashville and works at Spring Hill Funeral Home and Cemetery. He is married with 4 children.

Xavier is excited to be able to dedicate part of his life to helping families and individuals go through the worst time in their lives after the loss of a loved one. One of the main things that attracted him to this profession was after the loss of his father and mother. He now feels he is able to help families who are going through the same difficult time as he did. Xavier believes that we are all brothers and sisters and that we are all on this earth to love and help each other. Spring Hill is the place to do this.

Warren Reed

Warren Reed

Family Service Advisor

Kenneth Davenport

Kenneth Davenport

Family Service Advisor

Alexa Austin

Alexa Austin

Family Service Advisor

Jesse Hall

Jesse Hall

Family Service Advisor

Sheryl Husband Whitbey

Sheryl Husband Whitbey

Community Outreach Director
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My family consists of my mom, son, my sweetheart, 5 dogs, 5 cats, and a 63 Chevy step side named Rosey. I enjoy being active in the America Legion Auxiliary of which I have been a member for 53 years. I'm also a member of the order of the Eastern Star where I have served as Worthy Matron twice. I love helping others and making them happy. After 16 years in the Metro School Systems, I now love the peace and calmness I find working at Spring Hill Funeral Home.

I chose to be in this profession to let the public see that a funeral home & cemetery does not have to be a place full of bad memories, instead show how Spring Hill is here to meet the needs of each and every family member no matter how old or how young as they cope with the loss of a loved one. I want the community to see how Spring Hill cares about the community and its people.

Dr. Kevin Shrum

Dr. Kevin Shrum

Community Outreach Director

Allen  Riley

Allen Riley

Staff Associate
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Allen joined Spring Hill in May of 2015. He is a research specialist working with families to gather all pertinent documentation. The most important thing in Allen's life is Jesus Christ and his service to him. Allen's background consists of non-denominational evangelistic ministry. It is a privilege for Allen to conduct funeral services for families that do not have a minister or their minister is unavailable. Allen is confident in the power of the Lord God and humbly performs services at no charge to the funeral home or the family.

On his free time, Allen enjoys playing the guitar and keyboards for relaxation. He has over 40 years in the music business, which he is now retired from.

Janice J. Linder

Janice J. Linder

Staff Associate
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I was born and raised in Southern California. I married there, gave birth to 5 wonderful children and am now the proud grandmother of 5 grandchildren with #6 on the way. While in California, I was a real estate professional, a broker, owner, & manager of 2 century 21 offices, escrow office, and closing agent. In 1994 we moved to Nashville, Tennessee to start over again after a huge real estate market crash.

I've chosen to be in this profession as I love people. I have the heart to serve. I've been through many losses in my life and I felt that I could connect with those who have suffered a loss of a family member or loved one. I've been on the other side handling the funeral and burial of families members who passed and were well prepared and others who were unprepared. I know the benefits of pre-need arrangements, and I know the pain of having to make decisions for a loved one with no-pre arrangements. Either way, I want to help as I love the heart and mission of Spring Hill. They are a family, community, and service oriented company. We share the same heart. I promise people I can help them at their greatest time of need and Springhill lets me do just that.

Gregory Hines

Gregory Hines

Staff Associate
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I am originally from Brownsville, TN. My mother, older brother, and younger sister are still living in Brownsville, TN. I am here in Nashville going to John A. Gupton Mortuary School. I enjoy working for Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery. I want to be in the funeral industry because I want to help people and I do not want my help to depend on me having to achieve a certain quota.

John Robert Bowman

John Robert Bowman

Staff Associate
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I was born in Mt. Airy, N.C., Andy Griffins hometown. I lived in Virginia most of my life until I married my wife, Becky, in 1994. We have 2 children, Levi (21) and Jakob (16). We go to church in Hendersonville at Celebration of Life Church. We have lived here for five years. I have been a musician, singer, and preacher for 26 years. I have been blessed to play with Doyle Lawson, Allison Krauss, The Isaacs, J.D. Crow, The Boxcars and many others and now my own solo ministry. I am now a full-time evangelist. I've chosen this profession to help anyone who needs it.

Edward Vaughn

Edward Vaughn

Staff Associate

Ernie Congdon

Ernie Congdon

Staff Associate

Sharmeia Buchanan

Sharmeia Buchanan

Administrative Assistant
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Sharmeia “Shay” Buchanan started with Spring Hill in 2015 as an Administrative Assistant. Her love for helping people, and providing care, dedication and wholeheartedness to families during a difficult time in life is an inspiration to her. It started with her first call. After about 30 minutes, the young lady and her family came through the door crying and was embraced by Sharmeia, who promised to do her best to serve the family. The woman smiled with tears in her eyes. From that moment, Sharmeia knew she was in the right profession.

Tiffany Chambers

Tiffany Chambers

Administrative Assistant

Lynda Phanco

Lynda Phanco

Receptionist
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Lynda Phanco is a Receptionist with Spring Hill Funeral Home & Cemetery. She is a people person. When someone loses a loved one, she recognizes that's when they need love and care the most. She considers it a privilege and an honor to be able to assist families in any way she can during times of grief.

Felicia Schosker

Felicia Schosker

Administrative Assistant
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Married to my husband, Kevin for 9 years with two beautiful daughters, Emma & Abby. I love art and riding. I've chosen this profession as I am interested in caring as much as I can. I have lost loved ones and it peaked my interest on how the process is done.

Stephanie Downs

Stephanie Downs

Clerical & Administrative Specialist
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Is from Nashville, Tennessee. Has 3 children, Autumn 16, Alanah, 9 and Ace, 5. She is married to Michael who is a part of the Spring Hill family grounds crew. Is a Stratford High School Alumni, class of 99. In her free time, she loves spending time with family, going to movies, playing sports and gardening. There is such a reward in knowing you have helped someone in there time of need.

Rose Parker

Rose Parker

Funeral Support
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Rose Parker joined the Spring Hill staff 19 months ago and is in funeral support.
When we asked what attracted Rose to this field, She said: “It seemed like a good place to work a part-time job.” When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Rose said: “At the end of visitation when when the family comes to you and tells you how much they appreciate us and that we've made this time easier.”

Carl Dunlap

Carl Dunlap

Funeral Support
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Married to my wife for 50 years, we have two kids, a boy, and a girl. I have four grandchildren. I served in Germany from 1966 to 1969 in the Army. Retired from the United Methodist Publishing House where I worked for 30 years. I've been retired for 10 years and enjoyed playing golf but, not very good at it. I've chosen this profession as I like to help families.

Donna Hoover

Donna Hoover

Funeral Support
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Donna Hoover joined the Spring Hill staff. She is a member of Northside Church of Christ.
Donna previously held various factory jobs including General Electric and Pinkerton Tobacco Co. Donna retired from infant daycare after 22 years and still misses her babies! When we asked what attracted Donna to this field, She said: “I enjoy people and decided I may be able to help families at Spring Hill Funeral Home. My husband has been employed at Spring Hill for two plus years, so he encouraged me to join the team.” Donna is married to Bill and enjoys word games and community activities When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Donna said: “Spring Hill is full of genuinely caring, wonderful people whom I enjoy working with very much.”

Bill Hoover

Bill Hoover

Funeral Support
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Bill Hoover joined the staff at Spring Hill 2 years ago. He is a member of the Northside Church of Christ, volunteers at the Madison-Rivergate Area Chamber of Commerce, he also helps out with the Madison Station Music Jam each Friday. Bill was previously in sales. When we asked what attracted Bill to this field, He said: “I enjoy serving others and find assisting families in their greatest time of need here at Spring Hill, most rewarding.” Bill is married to Donna.

Chris Fenton

Chris Fenton

Grounds Crew
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Chris Fenton joined Spring Hill in the maintenance department 4 years ago and is on the grounds crew. Chris has 13 years of previous experience. When we asked what attracted Chris to this field, He said: “A friend got me cutting grass.” When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Chris said: “When I got my job here at Spring Hill!”

Jesse  Houchin

Jesse Houchin

Cemetery Foreman
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Jesse Houchin joined Spring Hill in the maintenance department 18 ½ years ago and is a grounds crew foreman. When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Jesse said: “Dealing with families.”

Michael Walker

Michael Walker

Grounds Crew

Richard Staggs

Richard Staggs

Grounds Crew
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Richard Staggs joined Spring Hill in the maintenance department 5 years ago and is on the grounds crew. Richard has 9 years of previous experience. When we asked what attracted Richard to this field, He said: “Being able to work outside.” When asked to give the proudest moment in this profession Richard said: “When I was able to rejoin my crew after surgery.”