BALDWIN — On Dec. 16, the staff of the Lake County Courthouse threw a surprise party for retiring county clerk and register of deeds, Shelly Myers.

A longtime county employee, Myers has done countless hours of work ensuring Lake County remained functional. Her fellow employees wanted to show Myers how much her service has been appreciated.

"I can't believe how many people came," remarked Janice Brinkert who helped organize the party. "We had snacks and a cake; it was great. I think it showed how important Shelly has been for this county."

The party took place at her office in the courthouse. Myers said she was overjoyed with the turnout and touched by how many people wished her well.

"It was fabulous," exclaimed Myers. "With everyone showing up it was hectic, but we all had a wonderful time. It was very heartwarming and made my last days here memorable."

Myers will officially step down on Jan. 31 and plans on traveling and visiting with family in the new year. She said she will look back on her service in Lake County government with fondness and hopes the community is headed for a bright and optimistic future.

"I'll never be able to repay my staff and I can't express how I feel about them really pouring their hearts into this," said Myers. "It's really wonderful."

In addition to her two current titles, she also was the county Chief Financial Officer for many years until the hiring of county administrator Tobi Lake earlier this year. Several county employees said if not for Myers, the county would have descended into disaster many years ago. Her coworkers said this kind of work requires recognition.

"Shelly's been here for 25 years," said Brinkert. "She has helped with a lot of programs and she has worn a lot of hats. She deserved a sign of our appreciation."