Jun. 12—Barb Jollie is in a class by herself.
Working as a dependency hearing officer for Westmoreland County's family court division, Jollie has been the one constant in the government over the last half-century.
She was honored this week by commissioners for reaching a milestone, 50 years of employment with the county.
"I never, ever would have expected when I started with the county to be here 50 years later. I had in my desk at the children's bureau an undated resignation letter that stayed in there for 20 years while I was at the bureau," Jollie said.
Her 50 years with the county makes her the longest tenured employee and the first ever to work a half century.
Jollie, 72, of North Huntingdon, started her career in 1971 as a children's bureau caseworker and after attending law school at night she moved to a prosecutor's job in the county district attorney's office in 1994. She was appointed as a hearing office last year.
President Judge Rita Hathaway recalled working with Jollie, first when she served with the children's bureau and later as she served as assistant district attorney, specializing in prosecuting child abuse cases.
"Barb had a passion for the children then and she still has a passion 50 years later," Hathaway said.
Jollie called her work in the children's bureau and district attorney's office as soul-wrenching. She attributed her longevity to the support from her coworkers and her desire to help children.
"I love kids. I was not blessed with any of my own and when I used to bemoan that, feel sorry for myself about that, my mother said to me 'God must want you to take care of other people's kids.' That stuck with me and I think that's what spurred my passion for this and I hope I've been able to help a few kids along the way," Jollie said.
Rich Cholodofsky is a Tribune-Review staff writer. You can contact Rich at 724-830-6293, email@example.com or via Twitter .