Serving and giving to others: Meet Tia Murry, Moffat County and Rio Blanco County’s new DHS Director
Tia Murry never planned on working in the human services field.
A graduate of the University of Oklahoma with an English degree, Murry — the new joint Department of Human Services Director for Moffat and Rio Blanco County — wanted to do something in the English field.
A move to Cochran, Georgia – a town of a little over 5,100 residents — to follow her husband after graduation led to a career-long trip down a path of development and service, eventually landing her right here in Moffat County.
“I had a degree in a field where I was rather limited,” Murry said. “My options were limited in that small town, so I fell into social services; I literally fell into it. There was an opening and I needed a job.”
Landing the family and child services job in Cochran sparked a passion for Murry, who has continued to serve communities, families and children across the country at stops in Georgia, Kansas, Oklahoma and now Colorado.
“I felt like, man, this is my sweet spot,” Murry said from inside the conference room at Moffat County DHS on Breeze Street. “I firmly believe in serving and giving to others, and I firmly believe that it takes a community to raise a child. I also firmly believe that working together, you can get more accomplished. No matter what it is, it takes more than one person to provide a service.”
Throughout her career, she served as the Vice President of Services for Goodwill Industries, Executive Director of a Foster Care Agency, and worked for the state government in Oklahoma as a supervisor.
Her prior experience — and becoming an empty nester mom with her youngest child off to college – drew her to apply for the position in late 2020.
“I was looking for something different to do, honestly,” Murry said. “I’ve held a number of different leadership positions in social services, so with me being an empty nester, I was able to expand my search.
“This position lined up with a lot of my employment history working with families and serving the community, so this position lined up with a lot of my personal beliefs and it really just felt like a great fit.”
Now, she’s tasked with some heavy lifting as the Director of Human Services of Moffat County and Rio Blanco County.
Though plenty of challenges exist moving forward for Moffat County DHS, Murry is excited for the opportunity to help the agency improve on what it does well locally.
“I come from a small town, so this is nothing new to me,” Murry said. “I was really looking for more that was challenging. This job checkmarks a lot of what I was looking for. I believe in developing and coaching people, and I believe in service to the community, and this position provides all of that.”
Murry, who’s first official day as dual director was Feb. 1, spendings Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays in Moffat County, and then on Tuesdays and Thursdays she splits her time in Rio Blanco County in Meeker and Rangely.
Though she’s stepped into a role in an agency that has had its issues in the past, Murry is focused on looking to the future and figuring out how Moffat County and Rio Blanco DHS departments can improve what they already have in place in her first year at the helm.
“As I’m learning the needs of the community — what does this community truly need? — some of the programs that we already offer that can help the community, I want to see if we can make them better,” Murry said. “Yes, we’re always going to be interested in new funding opportunities, but we need to make sure we’re doing our due diligence on what we already have to offer.”
Outside of her new role as the dual director, Murry has really enjoyed the small-town feel, taking part in the 15th annual Taste of Chocolate, while also immersing herself in the CrossFit community at WHC CrossFit along Yampa Avenue.
While she’s loving exploring all that Moffat County has to offer, Murry has been most impressed with the tendency of residents to step up and help others out in times of need.
“When someone in the community reaches out and says they need assistance with this or that, I am often amazed at how many community members step up and offer help, whether that’s with moving furniture, or needing food, things like that,” Murry said. “I love how the community helps one another; you just don’t see that much anymore. I really appreciate that.”
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