Tuesday, the Crow Wing County Board and staff welcomed back a familiar face gone for more than a year. County Highway Engineer Tim Bray, Crosslake, was back for his first board meeting since his deployment to Afghanistan about 13 months ago.
“I’m glad to be back on the job,” Bray told the board, thanking everyone for thoughts and prayers during his deployment. Bray has been back on the job a few days and back from Afghanistan about a month.
Administrator Tim Houle expressed pride in the service Bray provided for the county.
Bray said he was proud of the staff members at the highway department who took up the extra work in his absence and did a great job on many levels. Bray said he wanted to thank each staff member.
“Rob (Hall) is a rock,” Bray said of the assistant engineer who served in his stead as interim engineer. Hall has been with the department for 14 years. “He is quite the asset.”
Navy Lt. Cmdr. Bray was training and mentoring Afghan engineers on infrastructure and facility management.
“We are delighted to have you back and Rob, your interim replacement, was brilliant,” Commissioner Rachel Reabe Nystrom, told Bray. Nystrom said often the interim effort is to keep the ship going forward. “You did so much more than that,” she told Hall.
Administrator Tim Houle pointed to Hall’s efforts to drive down the lengthy wait residents were having for 911 address signs and for his cool and steady leadership during the flooding this year. Houle noted Federal Emergency Management Agency comments that agents had never seen such a good job of putting information together as they saw in Crow Wing County. Hall drew on his past experience in the Red River Valley for that effort.
“Thank you Rob and welcome back, again, Tim,” said Board Chairman Doug Houge.