Elijah Price is Retiring After 42 Years

On Elijah’s last full day at Rust Construction, we sat down to reflect on his time here and what lies ahead. This serves as a tribute to the many years of hard work and loyalty Elijah dedicated to the company – a sentiment we hope resonates and expresses the significance of his role to everyone who reads it.


Anyone who has had the pleasure of crossing paths with Elijah Price will attest to his unwavering devotion to work and witty charm. Elijah’s roots trace back to a small family farm in South Carolina, where, under the guidance of his grandfather, he mastered the operation of his first in a series of challenging vehicles – a red Allis Chalmer Tractor. The influence of his step-grandmother, who played a pivotal role in his upbringing, further enriched his character with enduring values and a strong sense of resilience. 


Four brothers pose in front of a car in the 1970s
Circa 1970. Elijah with his brothers, Willie and John Price, and his cousin, Ezekiel. Elijah is on the right, and to his left is Ezekiel and then Willie. John Price stands in front.

Elijah’s multifaceted abilities started at a young age. In addition to working on his grandparents’ farm, he also claims that he undertook the role of school bus driver for his fellow classmates. In May of 1975, he left home and joined the army in Germany. While overseas, he advanced from driving the four wheeled tractor to operating armored tanks. With the tank commander as his eyes and ears, he once steered over a bridge with only centimeters on either side of the vehicle. With that in retrospect, navigating the dump truck through narrow alleyways is light work for Elijah. 


After Elijah was honorably discharged in 1979, he returned to the United States to live and work in Washington, D.C. He worked briefly for Security Unlimited, overseeing the Arlington National Cemetery as a gateman and rover. When the security company moved to Alabama, he stayed in the nation’s capital. While searching for a new job, he was recommended to reach out to Tom Rust Sr., who was leading Rust Construction at the time. In 1981, Elijah joined Rust Construction as a laborer making $7.25 an hour. Although he took a brief hiatus shortly after his hire to work for a competitor, when he rejoined the company in 1982 he says that he told himself, “Eli, don’t move around, just stay put in one spot”, and he definitely remained faithful to that commitment. 


Over his remarkable 42-year tenure at Rust Construction, Elijah not only secured the title of longest-serving employee in the company’s history but also emerged as an indispensable force that binds us together. Clients consistently ask about him and he is clearly endeared by many. 


Younger Elijah Price on a construction site with a hat and towel to keep the sun off his head and neck.
Circa 1990. Elijah tries to keep cool while working outside on a hot summer day.

Although the late Tom Rust Sr. was a man of few words, he clearly expressed how important Elijah was to him and the entirety of Rust Construction. Shortly after Elijah left on his last day, Tom Rust Jr. reflected that, “Elijah genuinely enjoyed doing hard work that other people usually wouldn’t, and if you were working with him you enjoyed it too.” To simply label him as an employee doesn’t capture the reality of his pivotal role within the company. 


Elijah’s last full day at Rust Construction was Dec 27, 2023. While his departure brings the end of an era, he has undoubtedly earned his retirement. When asked what he will spend his time doing, he replied, “If I get too bored, I’ll go play golf for nine rounds, go home, and then I’ll go back again until they close.” In addition to putting his fellow putters to shame, he plans to travel down to South Carolina to visit family and potentially invest in some property. 


Older Elijah poses in front of brick walls.
2023. Elijah today.

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