Emma Freeman marks 60 years as Lassen County employee
The recognition started at 10 a.m. in the Board of Supervisors’ Chambers as Chairman Brian Dahle read the proclamation.
She “began her career with Lassen County on Dec. 8 1947, as a payroll account-receivables clerk at the auditor’s office,” Dahle read.
Because Freeman has been memorialized by proclamations several times in the last 15 years,
“There is nothing left to say except to express great amazement at her fortitude,” he read, and recognize that she is not only the longest-serving county employee in Lassen County, but also in California and perhaps the nation.
The county already honored Freeman with her own designated-parking space at the Lassen County Courthouse, Dahle read, drawing laughter from the packed house filling the board chambers to join in honoring Freeman.
“There is nothing left to honor her with but maybe the courthouse itself,” Dahle read, drawing even more laughter.
Since it was the fourth proclamation for Freeman in 25 years, District 2 Supervisor Jim Chapman said it was hard to write without repeating information on the last three plaques the board commissioned to honor Freeman.
“She started working before most of us were even born,” said Chapman.
“I was born nine days later,” said District Supervisor Bob Pyle.
Chapman added Freeman “embodies the spirit of what all of us asire to be and that is to be a good public servant and serve the needs of the community as a whole in an unselfish fashion.” He added “Most of us don’t rise to the level that Emma brings to the plate.”
Saying he hopes to hang around for Freeman’s 75th anniversary, Chapman said, “By then we’ll just give you the plaque and you can just write on it.”
“Emma’s an icon,” said County Clerk Julie Bustamante. “She still works two days a week.”
Saying he suspected Freeman holds the record for longest-serving county employee in the nation, County Administrative Officer John Ketelsen asked if anyone had ever researched the matter.
Ketelsen asked Freeman if she’d like to go meet the president of the United States.
“No,” Freeman said to widespread laughter.
“Neither would I,” Ketelsen joked.
Chapman suggested sending an announcement about Freeman’s record to the National Association of Counties for publication in the NACO newspaper.
The celebration continued from 1:30 to 4 p.m. that afternoon with a reception in the clerk’s office at the county courthouse.
As usual, Freeman seemed embarrassed by all the attention.
Saying she had no pearls of wisdom, Freeman added, “I don’t want anything in the newspaper.”
“We’re wondering if we’re going to be here to celebrate her 75th, because we know she will,” Bustamante said at the reception.
“There are times she comes in when she’s sick and we have to send her home because she’s so dedicated,” Bustamante said. “She tries to come in on the weekend and we won’t let her. The days she’s not here, people come in and say, ‘Where’s Emma?’”
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