Blakeslee relies on the personal approach
Post Independent Staff
GLENWOOD SPRINGS, Colo. ” Nobody likes to get served court papers, but if it has to be done, you want it to be from Judy Blakeslee.
As a civil deputy for the past 25 years for the Garfield County Sheriff’s Office, Blakeslee performs her duties with both caring and compassion.
Blakeslee’s job entails serving everything from court documents to restraining orders to eviction and custody notices to sheriff sales.
“It’s a heartache job because you’re taking something away from people ” something that’s special to them,” she said sincerely. “It has to be done, but it’s the way you do it that matters.”
And true to her personality, Blakeslee does it with love.
“Any time you serve somebody, they’re going to be upset and I care,” she said. “Sometimes they’re embarrassed and sometimes they get angry and take it out on the person that’s there. But I let them vent because it’s hurtful to them. I do it gently, but firmly and let them know there’s options out there.”
The sheriff’s office serves about 200 to 250 papers a month.
“What I like best about the job is being able to help people,” Blakeslee said. “Sometimes you sit and face them and you can’t make it go away and you can’t fix it. But you can help them by being there and caring and being sweet about it. If you approach people and you care, they know and they feel more comfortable.”
Garfield County Sheriff Lou Vallario, who has worked with Blakeslee for 19 years since he was a patrol officer with the Glenwood Springs Police Department, says that although her job is tough, it’s perfect for her.
“Judy is a wonderful person,” Vallario said. “She’s got a heart of gold and she’s very, very compassionate. She sincerely feels for people, which is why she does her job so well. I’ve never heard a person say a bad thing about her.”
Always quick with a warm hug and even a kiss, Blakeslee’s nurturing nature extends beyond her job duties ” it’s an integral part of her personality.
She is extremely close to her family of four children, 11 grandchildren and nine great-grandchildren. And along with her family and friends, she loves all animals.
And it is with her family and the animals that she cherishes spending time at a little cabin she has on Garfield Creek, which she uses as a retreat.
“I love to watch the animals ” the deer and the elk and the coyotes ” with my kids and grandkids,” Blakeslee said with a sweet smile. “It’s quiet and safe.”
Born in Gilman, just above Minturn, in 1941, Blakeslee has lived in western Colorado all of her life. Her family then moved from Gilman to Emma, near Basalt, where she attended a one-room school house and later graduated from Aspen High School. She moved to Garfield County in 1948 and has lived in Glenwood Springs and New Castle. She currently lives in Basalt. Her first job in Glenwood Springs was at the Hotel Colorado, where she worked for nine years. In 1980, she took the job of animal control officer for the sheriff’s office, which she did for a year before becoming a civil deputy.
And in her 26 years with the county, she’s come to think of them as part of her family as well.
“(County clerk) Mildred Alsdorf has been a big part of my life,” Blakeslee said. “And (county attorney) Don DeFord has been a rock for me. Civil law can be very difficult ” very tangled. And one of the reasons it’s easy to do our job is that (Vallario) lets us do our job. I feel have two families ” my blood family and my other family ” not just the sheriff’s office, but all law enforcement.”
When asked about the dangers that are inherent with her job, Blakeslee just smiles and shrugs.
“It can be dangerous, but God will take me when he wants me,” she said. “Until then, I’ve got a job to do.”
Post Independent, Glenwood Springs Colorado CO
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