CLIFTON — Last week, people from across Graham and Greenlee bade a fond farewell to a woman who has been influential in their successes.
On Friday, Nov. 22, the community said goodbye to Emily Muteb, community development manager with Freeport-McMoRan. Muteb arrived in the area with her husband, Danny, nearly eight years ago when he took a position with the Morenci mine. After spending a year finishing her master’s degree in international development, she took a position at the mine as a community development specialist.
In that time, Muteb came to be the public face of Freeport’s largesse and community projects in Greenlee County. Funding from the community investment fund have paid for improvements in local classrooms, town infrastructure and charity organizations such as food banks. Whether distributing grant awards, participating in nature cleanups or just providing an ear to the public, Muteb was there.
One of the most memorable projects, to her, was the recent work done to help catalog the archives and oral history of local historian Don Lunt, who passed away not long after the public presentation of the project.
Last week, many of those whose lives and livelihoods have been touched by Muteb’s efforts turned out to show their appreciation. Muteb will be leaving Morenci to accept a position with PT Freeport Indonesia.
“I have a gift here for you,” Sheriff Tim Sumner said as he took a pair of handcuffs and playfully bound their wrists together for a few good-natured pictures. Several dozen other people joined him at the Blue Door Sanctuary at her farewell party.
Clifton Town Councilwoman Laura Dorrell, acting as mayor pro tempore, presented Muteb with a key to the town.
“I wouldn’t do anything different,” Muteb told her “captive audience” at the farewell party. “I feel like I learned so much here; and as I look around the room, I want to tell each of you that you’ve done something to make me a better person and make me a better professional. From the bottom of my heart, thank you. You didn’t have to do that, and I’ve enjoyed every second of my time here.
“Indonesia is going to be an exciting challenge, and I’m really excited about it. Everything that I do in Indonesia is going to be built on what I learned here. Just know that I’m thinking of you guys and using those skills that I gained here.”