DEL NORTE— Rio Grande County honored four retirees/elected officials at the county annex building on Dec. 28, recognizing decades of service to the community. These public servants balanced the books, kept the streets safe and served the board of county commissioners.
Honored retirees included Treasurer Peggy Kern (24-plus years), Sheriff Brian Norton (16-plus years), Commissioner Karla Shriver (eight years) and Clerk of the Board Mona Syring (three years).
“This is a testament to Rio Grande County,” said Commissioner Gene Glover during the presentation. “They support their employees for longevity. I want to wish these guys the very best.”
Kern moved to Del Norte with her husband Ron in 1977. Leveraging her accounting degree from Adams State University, she took the Rio Grande County treasurer position and continued professional growth with certification from Colorado State University in 1995 and a second certification from Colorado Mesa University in 2003.
Kern said she worked “24 years as the treasurer and a partial year before that.”
During her six consecutive terms for the county, Kern was a member of the Colorado County Treasurer’s Association (CCTA) and Public Trustees of Colorado (PTAC). Kern orchestrated two CCTA events for continuing education (1999 and 2017) and said it’s an honor to be the chosen host for the annual gathering. Kern also received the Outstanding Treasurer award from CCTA in 1999.
Sheriff Norton started his career in law enforcement more than three decades ago, serving as an officer for the Monte Vista Police Department. After three years in Monte Vista, Norton took a position with the Rio Grande County Sheriff’s Office. He rose through the ranks and was appointed undersheriff, a role he fulfilled for nine years. In 2002, Norton ran for sheriff, took office in 2003 and served the county for “16 years as sheriff, and I’ve been with the sheriff’s office since 1991,” Norton said.
Farming east of Monte Vista, Commissioner Shriver has been in the San Luis Valley for more than 32 years. She served eight years for Rio Grande County, but her involvement has seeped into organizations throughout the Valley. Shriver has served on boards for SLV Development Resources Group, Rio Grande Watershed Emergency Action Team (RWEACT), SLV Water Conservancy District, SLV Federal Bank, El Pomar SLV Regional Council, TSJC Advisory Council and Rio Grande Headwaters Restoration Project. Shriver is also a leader for SLV Great Outdoors initiative, and she helps lead other boards and institutions throughout Colorado, including Colorado Great Outdoors (GOCO), National Association of Counties Telecommunication and Technology Committee, Colorado Counties Inc., the General Government Spending Committee and the board of County Technical Services for the County Health Pool.
“It has been an honor to serve the residents of Rio Grande County as well as the Valley as a whole on Valley-wide issues”, said Shriver. “I am proud of the projects and issues that I have worked on, and I feel I have made some positive impacts on the county, as well as the Valley as a whole. The completions of these projects were with no or little county monies. Some include the vision and building of the pavilion at Ski Hi Park, the Hydrology study, the OHV ordinance, the Summitville project, and the Valley radar project which is not yet complete.
I also appreciate the dedication of Rio Grande County staff and their commitment to the county and its residents. They all have different responsibilities and are the ‘spokes’ of a large wheel that makes Rio Grande County roll in a positive manner. I thank them for their service to the bounty, and best wishes to all,” commented Shriver.
For the past three years, Syring tracked details for commissioners as clerk of the board. In addition to other duties, Syring tracked the budget numbers, resolutions, decisions and motions to preserve meeting minutes for future reference.