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Rio Grande County bids farewell to long-time commissioner

Posted: Friday, Jan 11th, 2013

Photo by Judy Applewhite Dennis Murphy celebrates with his granddaughters and wife at his retirement reception.

DEL NORTE—On Jan. 2, Rio Grande County Commissioner Chairman, Dennis Murphy Jr., was honored at a morning retirement reception at the County Courthouse Annex.

Murphy had served the last eight years with the County Commissioners, and stated this stepping down was “bittersweet,” and, “something you don’t want to do, but you know you have to do.”

Murphy’s wife, Donna, said that he knew, due to health reasons, he would not be able to give 100 percent as is his desire, and he would surely miss serving.

Many came to the annex to honor Murphy including County Attorney, Bill Dunn who told Murphy, “You’ve been a wonderful citizen.” Fellow Commissioner, Doug Davie, said “there were trying times, but they always came out as friends.” He said there were “a lot of good times.” Commissioner Karla Shriver said that the board was, “losing a great mentor,” and that “we won’t let him be a stranger, as there are many boards we can appoint him to.”

After a presentation of gifts, many spoke words of appreciation for his service. Murphy then expressed how grateful he was to everyone, “especially the staff” for all the support they had given over the years.

The commissioners acknowledged they have had differences, not always voting the same, but they are glad they would always finish as friends.

Pam Bricker, new incoming commissioner, said she is “excited, but a little nervous” as she anticipates the job ahead.

The installation ceremony of Jan. 8 will add Bricker to the board to serve, along with Davie, who is returning for a fourth term, and Shriver, who is currently serving her first term. Davie said that he is now “outnumbered” as he is the only male commissioner this round.

County Administrator Suzanne Benton said there are a lot of oil and gas issues for the commissioners on the horizon, as well as the legalized marijuana issue, among others.

Murphy said one of his fondest memories the day remembering a time when he was working to get the CDOT Aviation Permit for the Rominger Memorial Airport. He is looking forward to the coming lighting of the facility, as well as installation of the weather station, the navigation aids and perhaps a fueling station in the future.

Murphy, not only served the county as a commissioner, but he spent the previous 34 years as the music teacher for the Del Norte Middle and High Schools. Murphy said they had a marching band every year of his tenure, as well as having the band play at most athletic events. The band had as many as 96 members at its largest during his time there.

The Murphys were joined by their granddaughters as the event drew to a close. They said that they have no immediate plans for a change, but they may consider a move towards Pueblo sometime down the road.

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