Parade honors retiring Extension Office manager

GLENDA BLOM, who served as the office manager in the Lake County Extension Office for 28 years, receives the well wishes of many on Friday morning. Although the social distancing recommended to prevent the spread of COVID-19 prevented them from organizing a retirement party, they did hold a parade in front of the 4-H grounds.

Retirement only means it is time for a new adventure.

That is the message one well-wisher had for Glenda Blom on Friday morning as a parade of cars, led by law enforcement and the blare of sirens, passed the 4-H grounds on S. Egan Avenue. Although the longtime office manager for the Lake County Extension program had requested no retirement party, those who appreciate everything she has done during her 28 years with the program could not let the occasion go unmarked.

"Oh! My gosh!" she said as sirens drew her attention to the stream of cars that approached the grounds.

Blom was at the Extension Office wrapping up final details with Shelli Gust, who handles human resources for Lake County, when she was asked to step outside. As the cars passed, she called out thanks to all of the leaders and club members who passed.

"I'm going to miss all the little 4-H-ers running in and saying, `Look what I did'," Blom said when asked what she will miss about working for the county. "There are some who are very special in my 28 years."

She can only guess at the number of children who have been involved in the program over the years. At one time, more than 400 children were involved annually. Now, as times and programs have changed, there are fewer -- about 150 annually. However, over the course of 28 years, she guesses that "thousands and thousands" have participated.

She said she plans to play during her retirement and to enjoy time with her new Havanese puppy, Cocoa Pebbles. However, she doesn't anticipate that will be easy for her. She has led an active life -- raising four children, working two jobs (4-H Extension and National Guard) and being involved in church activities.

"Rolling downhill will be very difficult for me for a while," Blom said.

That being said, she also noted that she is open to what the future holds, to the new adventure of retirement.

"I don't know what I'm going to do for sure -- wherever God leads me," Blom indicated.