“It’s been a wonderful 15 years,” Susann Huff said. “I’m going to miss the people, but I’ll still volunteer.”

After 15 years of dedicated service, Parks and Events Coordinator Susann Huff is retiring from her position with the City of Laurie.

Huff has had a working life that spans 45 years. She spent 15 years working for Southwestern Bell as one of the first female cable splicers in the state, the ran her own ceramics business for another 15. After the final stretch, Huff said she is ready to retire.

“It’s been a wonderful 15 years,” she said. “I’m going to miss the people, but I’ll still volunteer.”

She said she has become tired of the day-to-day, and is looking forward to getting away from it all to work on her home and spend more time with her family. But she’s not leaving without putting Laurie firmly on track. She has lined up a replacement for her, a local woman named Caitlin Shoults.

Shoults has been learning under Huff since August, preparing to take on her duties and keep things running smoothly. Shoults said she has known Huff since 2002, when she and her family volunteered to help with the Enchanted Village of Lights event.

She graduated from Northwest Missouri State University with a degree in Parks Management in August 2016. She is now working on her Master’s degree, and looking forward to starting in earnest.

“I’m really excited, but also nervous,” she said. “I’m looking forward to bringing new events, and updating our current events to what the city needs.”

But she’s not without her concerns, saying she doesn’t think she’ll ever be able to replace Huff. She merely wishes to build upon what Huff has created.

“I don’t want to mess anything up, but I am very excited,” she said.

Huff says she thinks Cailtin will do fine, and likes to remind her “I’m only a phone call away”. With things left as well as she can manage, Huff steps down from her position with optimism and looks back on a career full of accomplishments.

Her proudest moment? The Enchanted Village of Lights, upon which she has spent years expanding and upgrading to make it better and more cost-effective.

The Village is arguably Laurie’s most famous event, bringing people from across the state in to view the fantastic display of Christmas lights and enjoy a ride through the Hillbilly Fairgrounds.

The event is undoubtedly a big fundraiser for the city, regularly raising funding for a number of other city events for the coming year.

“We built it, and they came!” said Huff.