By Patrick Winderl/Havre Daily Newsemail@example.com
The couple responsible for managing Beaver Creek Park will retire at the end of the month.
Bernie and Donna Golie, the park's superintendent and secretary, have managed the park for more than two decades. Last month they informed the Hill County Park Board of their retirement April 30.
"We decided last year that this would be our last year," Donna Golie said this morning. "There were things we wanted to finish up before we left and we got those done. It's time to move over - nothing major, just time to get on with our lives."
The Golies' tenure at Beaver Creek Park started on Sept. 1, 1982.
"It's been more fun than not," Donna said. "It's a naturally fun place. People come out here to have fun."
"Now it's our turn to go camping," she added.
The couple did a fine job managing the park, Hill County Commissioner Doug Kaercher said.
"They've been a fixture with the park for quite a few years. They've been able to coordinate between all the different entities that use the park. They've served the county quite well.".
The couple's retirement means the county will have to hire a new superintendent quickly to prepare for the summer. The county hopes to hire a replacement for Bernie Golie prior to his last day, Kaercher said.
"We'd certainly liked to have it filled by the end of the month, so we can take advantage of his knowledge," Kaercher said.
Finding a replacement quickly will be critical to the smooth running of the park, park board member Dean Hanson said this morning.
"We need somebody to help us into the summer months. Right now it's almost an emergency situation," he said.
Hanson lauded the Golies for their hard work and dedication.
"We're going to miss them," Hanson said. "They have been there a long time and been strong in the development in the park. They've done a lot. It's not going to be easy to replace them. We're going to have to work diligently to make things work."
Hanson, who has served on the park board since its inception, said the Golies were well-suited for their job.
"They're just a well-rounded couple that fit in the park perfectly. People don't realize how much time and effort they put into the park. If you follow them for a week out there, you can see how much they do," he said.
Hanson said the board has known about the Golies' retirement for some time.
"We've been anticipating it. We just didn't know exactly when it would come. They've mentioned off and on that they were considering a change. You just got to hold out hope that it doesn't come and eventually it does," he said. "We're going to miss them."
Park boar chair Steve Mariani agreed.
"It's the board's point of view that we're going to miss them. They've done an awesome job over the years," he said. "I think we're losing some good people there. They've done a great job managing the park - they've done a great job and left a big void. Our task at hand is to fill some pretty big shoes."
Board member Dave Wilson said finding a replacement for Golie could be tough.
"I hate to see Bernie go. I think he's been good for the park and good for its development," Wilson said.
Wilson said he hopes the new park superintendent will be able to pick up where the Golies left off.
"They've been there a long time. There's a lot of things that are established, and ways they've gone about conducting the business of the park. Anybody that comes in will be a change, but hopefully there will be some good policies and procedural things that can be drawn upon and utilized," he said.
The county began advertising on Wednesday for a new Beaver Creek Park superintendent. The position pays $21,915 annually and also includes housing in the park.
Mariani said he has already heard from people interested in the job.
"I know that there's qualified applicants out there. I'm just hoping we can find the right fit," he said.
Kaercher added, "It's one of those jobs that takes a particular kind of person, and hopefully we'll find one."