COTTAGE GROVE, Ore. -- Five decades have gone by, and Wilma Ellenburg still has a reason to smile. She started working at the Safeway in Cottage Grove in 1961 when she was just 21 years old. Now, at 72 years old, she's remained loyal to her company and still works there part-time.
"This is a local town and you see the same customers day in and day out, and when they don't come in, you miss them," said Ellenburg.
Former co-workers who have worked with Ellenburg admire her. "She pretty much taught me how to work," said retired Safeway employee Sharon Stratton.
"She's a wonderful person. She'd do anything in the world for you and she just is a great lady," said another retired Safeway employee Barbara Schmitt.
Her current boss, Roger Braswell, started working at the Safeway when he was in college. "She taught me how to bag groceries and how to work hard and pay attention and how to pay attention to customers," he said.
Ellenburg says her customers and co-workers are like family. "How many people do you know that have worked 50 years in the same community and the same company? That's really remarkable," said Safeway customer Brian Woods.