‘A great new adventure’: Becks ride off into retirement, look forward to spending more time together
Dixie Beck retires from the Craig Police Department after 30 years, while Ray Beck steps away from local politics after nearly 14 years of service, and three and a half years on the Planning and Zoning Commission
After a number of years putting outside commitments ahead of time together, Ray and Dixie Beck are riding off together into the sunset with a grand new adventure awaiting them.
Following 30 years of service to the Craig Police Department as the Records Manager, Dixie Beck called it a career on Dec. 29. Just a few weeks later, Ray Beck walked way from local politics (for the time being) after nearly 14 years of service, including a two-term stint on city council, a term as Mayor and one term as a county commissioner.
Now that they have some free time together after so many years of dedication to Moffat County and the city of Craig, the couple – married 37 years – is looking forward to the next chapter in their lives.
With all the free time ahead, Dixie is looking forward to planning trips and spur-of-the-moment things with Ray, now that his schedule isn’t full with meetings and events to attend.
“It’s nice to be able to do this,” Dixie said from her living room on Colorado Street, which happens to sit inside one of the oldest house in Moffat County. The Becks’ house was built in 1904, and they’ve lived in that same house together since getting married in 1983.
“We’ve never been able to plan things or get up and go whenever we’ve wanted due to prior commitments; we always had to plan two, three, four weeks ahead of time if we wanted to go anywhere,” Dixie said. “But now, our next great adventure awaits and we’re just so excited.”
Dixie Beck has seen quite a few changes in her 30 years with the Craig Police Department, including shifting from paper to digital records, and moving over to the Public Safety Center.
At some point, Dixie knew she was going to retire from the police department, but she never really had a plan in terms of when she would do it.
“I always told myself that I would wake up one day and just know it was time, and that’s what happened,” she said. “I woke up one morning and just said, ’you know what? It’s time. I’m ready.’”
The Police Department loses a key cog in the engine, as Beck was a Colorado Certified Records Network Board member from 2010 to 2020, establishing connections across the state and at the federal level and making sure the city of Craig was represented.
She won’t miss the work, per se, but she’ll meet the people she established relationships with.
Being on that network board was the most exciting time for Dixie. She helped coordinate and organize two yearly training conferences throughout the state — one on the Western Slope and one on the eastern plains — for records personnel.
“The people that I met during that time were amazing. So when I announced my retirement, I sent off an email to everyone I’d connected with across the state telling them that I was retiring, and I can’t even begin to describe the outpouring of support I received,” she said. “These people so enriched my life incredibly, and it was just really amazing to see the support.
“I printed off all the emails from people around the state; it was amazing. I have all those emails to share with friends and family, and I pull them out here and there just to read them.”
She added that she’ll miss the police officers too, because of the camaraderie within the department, and the general customer service contacts she’d have at the Public Safety Center.
Leaving it better than he found it
For nearly 14 years, Ray Beck has served the city of Craig and Moffat County in a variety of public service roles. Just before his retirement from Yampa Valley Electric Association in 2009, Beck ran for a city council seat in 2007 and won. From there, he served two terms.
Following his second term, he ran for Mayor and won, and then later served one term on county commissioners. Beck decided to not run for a second term on the BOCC and stepped away from local politics on Jan. 11, 2021.
When asked what he’s most proud of from his time as a local elected official, Beck quickly jumped to the swinging bridge in Brown’s Park.
“When I ran for county commissioner, I said I supported public lands, and if you’re going to be a county commissioner and support public lands, you need to support public access,” Beck said. “That bridge provided public access to public lands, and from a safety standpoint was much needed in case of wildfires.”
While 2020 was a hard year for Beck from a county commissioner’s standpoint and dealing with the pandemic, one accomplishment stood out to Beck, that being the move forward with a new courthouse at the old Kmart building.
“I think that’s going to have a positive impact on the community,” Beck said. “I’m really proud of that, considering what we as county commissioners did in regards to the courthouse. We saved tax-payers millions of dollars by going through this process, and at the same time downsizing county assets.”
Beck also highlighted the completion of the Loudy-Simpson Park project as another accomplishment he’s most proud of from an elected official’s standpoint.
“Now, the way it’s set up out there, it will support events large and small for the community. That was a huge accomplishment we achieved with the support of Tri-State, Department of Local Affairs, Yampa Valley Electric, and the county and the city,” Beck said. “That park is beautiful and a key piece for this community to continue building around.”
Above all else though, Beck is most proud of developing an intergovernmental relationship from the city and the county’s standpoint.
“We wanted to show we were serious and wanted to develop that working relationship for the betterment of our community, and I think we’ve achieved that,”Beck said.
For now, Beck is taking a step back from local politics. He’s still involved in Club 20, providing representation for Moffat County. He’ll miss a number of other boards and relationships that he’s developed over the years.
Ray said he wants to thank the past BOCC of Don Cook and Donald Broom, and community for giving him the opportunity to represent the county at all levels of government.
“I’ve said this before: being an elected official provides a lot of opportunities, but it doesn’t come without challenges,” Beck said. “I’ll miss AGNC, the Housing Authority Board, and the Land Use Board, and I’ll miss all those relationships I’ve developed over the years, without a doubt.
“But it’s time for me to take a step back and look to our future.”
A New Adventure
After all these years of sacrificing time together for the betterment of the community, the Becks say they’re looking forward to “Ray and Dixie” time.
“Our time was put on the back burner for a number of years, so we just knew it was time for us, Ray and Dixie time,” Ray stated. “We’ve been looking forward to it and now we can focus on each other and spending time together getting caught up on lost time.”
So far, the couple has enjoyed getting up and going wherever they’ve wanted to go without anything on the agenda for the day.
“In the past we just couldn’t do something spontaneous, so now being able to get in the car and go grab a pizza or go on a day trip, that’s very enjoyable,” Ray said.
“It’s just been so good,” Dixie added. “He’s very impulsive now, which I like, because I am impulsive. It’s nice to have the time to do something if we want to do it.”
Arguably the biggest adjustment for the couple has been a new sleep schedule. When both were working and serving the community, the couple would rise out of bed at 4 a.m. each morning and would be out the door by 6:30 a.m. Now, with nothing on the schedule but spending time together, the Becks have enjoyed in sleeping in as late as 6:45 a.m.
“Part of you feels like something’s missing, that I should be doing something, but the other part is telling me that this is right, that I’ve done okay and I can relax,” Ray said. “Usually, Monday nights would be tough for me with preparing for meetings, doing all the things to prepare for meetings that the public doesn’t see.
“The first night I didn’t have a meeting, I realized I could go to bed when I wanted to and wake up when I wanted to, so it’s kind of nice.”
The couple doesn’t have any grand plans for trips in the middle of the COVID-19 pandemic, but they are looking forward to planning future trips to places like Jackson, Wyoming to get away and spend time together.
After all the years of hard work and commitment to Moffat County, the Becks are looking forward to sitting back and enjoying each day as it comes – together.
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