Local woman returns to Craig as Moffat County Housing Authority director
Craig — She drives familiar roads to work, to home, to everywhere in Moffat County, but she isn’t bored.
She lived in other places, visited other cities, saw the corners of the country, but she wants to be here.
Jan Reece, a self-described country girl with three sons currently going to the same schools she did, is the new Moffat County Housing Authority director, a position she is thankful for in a town she missed.
“There is no replacement for friends and family,” Jan said. “It’s so nice to be home. There are some great friends I’ve kept. They’ve been my great support while my husband was away.”
As housing director, Reece is responsible for managing Sunset Meadows I and II, which are county-owned and operated retirement homes for seniors.
Her husband, Todd, currently is serving a second tour of duty in Iraq as a DynCorp volunteer training Iraqi police officers. DynCorp is a privately-owned contracting firm which handles some law enforcement duties there.
While they were dating, Jan took him hunting for elk, as two young people are wont to do around these parts, Jan said.
Todd bought a new gun, tracked his game and took down his first elk on that trip.
But he wouldn’t clean his animal, and made Jan do it for him.
“He knew he had a country girl then,” Jan said.
The two first met in 1982, when he was a 12-year-old riding a bicycle and she was a 16-year-old driving a 1978 Plymouth Aero. They came to the same spot to watch the Olympic torch come through Craig, she said.
She had no time for a kid on a bike then, she laughed.
She misses him now. When Todd told Jan he was going back to the Middle East for another tour, Jan made a decision, too.
They had lived in Fruita in Mesa County for three years, and Jan missed something.
“This time I decided to go home,” Jan said. “I just feel blessed (the director position) was offered to me.”
She applied for the job at the end of October, and was in Craig two weeks later.
Jan’s drive for social work has been a longstanding affair.
“Why?” her youngest son, Tucker, 10, asked his mother.
“Well, because I like to help people,” Jan answered.
She started with a physical therapy class in Denver, then came back to Craig and worked with Horizons, a local non-profit that helps people with developmental disabilities.
Then she moved on to the 14th Judicial District Attorney’s Office as a victim/witness coordinator using her paralegal degree from Colorado Northwest Community College.
When Todd took a job with the Mesa County Sheriff’s Office, she worked in the Department of Human Services there as an eligibility specialist for elderly residents looking to collect public services.
Within six months, she was promoted to Human Services department supervisor.
She started management training classes during that time. She visited the country’s edges, including Seattle, Florida and New York City while studying in the American Management Association program.
“I loved Seattle, because it’s so close to the water, and it seemed a whole lot more close-knit than a big city might be,” Jan said. “New York was just crazy. Everybody was moving somewhere all the time.”
She is glad to be back in Craig, working for the county and managing Sunset Meadows. She already has high praise for her staff.
“They are a wonderful, educated, experienced staff,” Jan said. “They are the greatest, and a manger is only as good as their staff.”
Jan plans to focus on Sunset Meadows, and do what’s in her power to help the people living there.
“We can impact the quality of life for the elderly,” she said. “I love it. I love my job, and the tenants are so wonderful.”
In an effort to make coal more competitive against natural gas and renewable energy sources, two of the nation’s largest coal companies, Peabody Energy and Arch Coal, have announced that they plan to combine assets in Colorado and Wyoming. Routt County’s Twentymile Mine would be managed under the new joint venture.