Barz recognized for years of NARFE service
Glenwood Springs, CO Colorado
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colorado ” By now, you’d think Maurice “Mo” Barz would have earned himself a lifetime membership in the National Active and Retired Federal Employees Association. After all, he has been practically running its local chapter for more than 30 years.
Not so fast, joked current secretary Shirley Sample.
“No, we don’t let him do that,” she said, with a dry wit. “That reduces his dues eight cents a year.”
She was one of a handful of NARFE members gathered with Barz’s friends and family, set to honor him for more than 30 years of service to the organization. As they sat around the room in Glenwood’s Colorado Mountain College campus, they were all smiling, swapping jokes. People took turns talking up the man of the hour ” who’s soon to turn 91.
“Mo, I thought you always made a good platoon sergeant,” said fellow NARFE member, Dan Wagner. “You always used to whip us into shape ” and we were pretty unruly troops.”
Currently, there are about 120 members in the Western Slope’s chapter. According to those who were there that day, for years it was Barz who collected the dues, enticed new members and kept everyone informed on NARFE happenings. He’s the reason, they all agreed, why NARFE is still going strong around these parts.
Barz, though, acted much more modest than all that.
“Well, I don’t know,” he said. “Somebody had to do it.”
He wasn’t quick to talk about himself, but, with his oxygen tank by his side, he eventually gave a light rundown of his life. He was raised in DeBeque and went to college in Denver. He worked in the Forest Service for 26 years and oversaw construction on such vital road projects as Vail Pass and Cottonwood Pass, near Buena Vista. He was married for 47 years to his late wife, Margaret, who also served as secretary to the organization for a long while. He talked about the mobile home park he still runs in Glenwood and about the dozen hand-made clocks hanging up in his kitchen. Since retirement, he’s crafted about 170 of them.
He also said that he “couldn’t believe” he’d been a retiree since 1976.
When the ceremony kicked into “high gear,” he stood in front of a U.S. flag as another NARFE member presented him with a plaque from the national branch of the organization. Barz also received a letter from NARFE president Martha E. Leiker, thanking him and Margaret for the “efforts and constant vigilance” in helping keep his NARFE chapter alive.
“Well, I didn’t expect anything like this,” he said. “Thanks. It’s quite a plaque.”
Then his step-daughter, Caroleen Hitchens, tried to prod him, get him to say more.
“How do you feel about it?” she asked, full of enthusiasm, “Flabbergasted? Proud?”
“I guess you could say that,” he responded, still so low-key. “I have to make sure I get it hung up right.”
And he was smiling. Peering into the plaque’s shiny surface, he did look happy. But he also seemed to be taking it all in stride.
Contact Stina Sieg: 384-9111
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