Beth Pfingsten was recognized for 34 years of service at Tuesday’s Crow Wing County Board meeting.
“She came here out of college, fresh-faced and ready to take on the world,” said Board Chairwoman Rachel Reabe Nystrom. “Jimmy Carter was the president of the United States. Beth has outlived a lot of presidents.”
Pfingsten, a social worker with the county, began her career with the county as a child protection worker.
“As a child protection worker, she was instrumental in the establishment of the Crow Wing County Child Protection Team,” said Kara Griffin, operations coordinator. “This team has focused on the awareness and prevention of child abuse including the Radiothon to end Child Abuse, which this year will be celebrating its 20th anniversary.”
In 2003, Pfingsten took on the adult protection team and created a similar response in educating the community on protection for vulnerable adults.
“She’s been instrumental in bringing awareness to our entire community along with the entire state,” Griffin said. Among other presentations, Pfingsten has presented at the Minnesota County Attorneys Association. This year she’ll speak at the national conference.
“I just want to say thank you Beth for your dedication to the whole social work profession and for serving the residents of Crow Wing County,” Griffin said.
Nystrom said Pfingsten is a tireless community volunteer in the community, serving in critical positions in the community such as the Brainerd Lakes Regional Airport Commission.
“She piloted the airport commission through a very difficult transition as chairman and continues to be on the board,” Nystrom said. “She is a stellar employee and a real contributor to Crow Wing County and a great friend.”
Pfingsten said serving the community’s most vulnerable people, children and families, was an honor.
“In Crow Wing County we do a smash-up job with child protection services,” Pfingsten said. “We have two full units that really dedicate themselves to protecting those vulnerable kids. We only have one adult protection worker.”
Pfingsten thanked the board for replacing her position. Going forward, she noted the population is aging and adult protection case work is increasing.
“We’ve gone from 130 reports in 2003 to over 1,000 last year,” Pfingsten said.
Pfingsten said she knows adding staff is difficult but she asked the board to keep in mind life is changing for vulnerable adults.
“I really encourage you to give some real thoughtful consideration for that going forward,” Pfingsten said. “That’s my plug for the adult protection piece.”
She noted she served with Commissioner Paul Koering on the District 181 Community Education Board before he was elected to the state Senate and has a long friendship with Nystrom. She got to know Commissioner Paul Thiede and his family through the Civil Air Patrol.
“He is a really nice guy if you believe it or not,” Pfingsten said, getting a laugh from those gathered at the meeting.
She said neighbor, County Attorney Don Ryan, was a fine county attorney. “I love him to death,” she said. “We are really blessed to have some great talent in this county.”