County worker logs 30 years
When Rhonda Parker started working for Eagle County 30 years ago, her office was in a double-wide trailer where the Eagle County library now sits.
Since then, Parker, 50, of Eagle, has worked for four departments at the county; has seen dozens of managers and employees come and go; and has had her salary grow from $320 a month to $40,000 a year.
“The nice part when I started was that I walk to work every day. Now, I have to drive to Gypsum,” says Parker, who on Feb. 17 received a commemorative crystal vase from the county commissioners honoring her three decades of work for the county.
An Eagle native, she started working for Eagle County after graduating with a legal secretary’s degree from Central Business College in Denver. Parker, a member of the Beasley family in Eagle, took a job accounting with the county’s Health and Human Services department.
“We were only four in the department, now there are more than 40 employees there,” Parker says.
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From Health and Human Services, Parker moved to the county’s finance department, where she worked for 18 years in payroll. Next came the Clerk and Recorder’s Office where she worked in election issues. For the past five years, Parker has been working in the Road and Bridge Department supervising bill payments for the department’s four areas: motor pool, landfill, weed and pest and Fair and Rodeo.
“She’s great to be around”
Parker, who lives in Eagle with her husband, Richard, and has a19-year-old son, Jerad, says she likes working for the county because it has excellent benefits.
“It’s not hard to work at the county. Every day is different and everybody works as a team,” she says. “I liked working in the finance department, because I like numbers. I like the department I’m working in now because I work with a lot of guys and they are easier to get along with.”
For Earlene Roach, who has worked on and off at the Clerk and Recorder’s office since 1977, and has shared office space with Parker for many years, it’s Parker’s personality that makes it great to be around her.
“Everybody in the county likes her,” Roach says. “She’s got the personality to work along with. She has a lot of humor, still she is serious enough to get her job done.”
Eagle County Administrator Jack Ingstad says Parker has been “an indispensable part of every team.”
“She has held several key positions in the county. Everywhere she goes, people love her,” Ingstad says.
Although some people who are raised in small towns decide to try luck in a big city, Parker says she never questioned staying in Eagle County.
“My roots, my family and friends are here,” she says.
In fact, Parker’s dad, also born and raised in Eagle, used to own “Beasley’s”, the grocery store in Eagle where the Beasley Center now is located.
“My grandmother was born and raised here, too,” she says.
Parker gets nostalgic when she remembers times when there were two grocery stores in town, a post office, a clothing store, a lumber company and a movie theater on Broadway and when Broadway didn’t stop at the county building – built in 1991.
“You can’t even buy a dress here now, nor appliances. You have to go to Avon,” she says.
Although she was raised in what would become one of the largest ski areas in the country, Parker’s last time skiing in Vail was when she was 13 years old.
“I skied in Vail only once,” she says. “When I was a little girl I liked to ski in Meadow Mountain. Then, Vail opened. But it was too big for me and there were too many people.”
Still, Eagle County has a lot to offer in addition to skiing, she says. Parker enjoys snowmobiling with friends. She also goes fishing, hunting, camping and bowling.
“We just enjoy the small town atmosphere,” she says. “I’m happy where I’m at.”
In many ways, Parker still is attached to the past, she says.”I’d like to see more life brought back to the town of Eagle the way it used to be,” she says.
Veronica Whitney can be reached at 949-0555, ext. 454 or at email@example.com.