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Golden City Councilman Jim Dale says there’s a saying in the Air Force that goes: “Service Before Self.”
Through everything he’s done, from his military career to now serving as a Golden City Council member, that saying is how Dale chooses to live his life.
“I’ve always liked serving others,” Dale said. “We (he and his wife) really believe in being active in our community. That’s what it’s all about.”
Recognizing his “outstanding achievements, humanitarian service and contributions to the veterinary profession,” states a press release, the Kansas State University College of Veterinary Medicine and Veterinary Medical Alumni Association have honored Dale as a recipient of the 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award.
“Dr. Dale’s outstanding record of military and public service provides an inspiring example for future veterinarians,” said Dr. Bonnie Rush, interim dean of the College of Veterinary Medicine in a press release. “Although retired, he keeps active by serving his state and local community through municipal boards and commissions.”
Dale was raised on a small farm, which he, his brother and his sister referred to as the Rattlesnake Ranch, near the small town of St. John, Kansas. The three siblings still own the ranch..
After high school, Dale went straight to Kansas State University, which Dale fondly refers to as K-State, and earned his Doctor of Veterinary Medicine degree in 1967.
He went into practice as a large animal veterinarian in Lawrence, Kansas, but was only there about six months.
“Vietnam was going on,” Dale said. And “back then, we had a draft.”
Dale says he enlisted with the Air Force for two years, “and stayed for 30.”
Serving as a veterinarian and in public health, his Air Force career took Dale all over the world. In 1972, he went to Turkey and that’s where he met his wife LouAnne, who was a teacher for Air Force children.
LouAnne Dale currently is involved with the Jefferson County League of Women Voters and serves as the chair for Golden’s Citizens Budget Advisory Committee.
The 2019 Distinguished Alumnus Award is a meaningful award because it speaks to the breadth of Dale’s work and dedication to serving the community, LouAnne Dale said.
“Wherever we’ve lived, Jim has always been involved,” she said. “He likes to dream, but he’s also very realistic. Even with the hard decisions, he likes to be a of it.”
The two married on Feb. 7, 1975, while Dale was attending graduate school at the University of North Carolina, where he earned a degree in epidemiology, which is the study of health and disease in populations.
“I was loving public health,” Dale said. “I thought being a medical detective would be really exciting.”
Dale was eventually assigned to the Minot Air Force Base in North Dakota, and in the five years they were there, the most important life event that happened was the birth of his two children, Dale said.
His daughter Sara now lives in Virginia and is raising two children, and his son John lives in Chicago and is also raising two children.
In 1980, the Air Force promoted Dale, and the family moved to Spain and they lived there for four years. When they returned to the United States, the Dales moved to Utah because of the “great skiing,” Dale said, and skiing became a favorite family pastime.
During that time, Dale earned his Master of Business Administration from the University of Utah, and the Air Force promoted him to lieutenant colonel.
Dale was later promoted to full colonel and eventually moved to the Air Force headquarters in D.C. to work for the Surgeon General of the United States Air Force as the chief of prevention operations.
“The job there was policy, and the funding and financing of public health and prevention,” Dale said.
Dale “retired” in 1998, but didn’t stay away from public health for long.
He found a job with Jefferson County, so he sent in his resume and met with Mark Johnson, the executive director of Jefferson County Public Health.
Dale “is a Kansas farm boy who, although he has seen the world and has walked in the halls of power at the highest levels, never really left the farm,” Johnson said. “I was constantly impressed that Jim (Dale) was always listening and always thinking about how to apply whatever he was hearing to improve the work of his division and the health of his community.”
Dale and his wife then moved to Golden in May 1999 and decided to settle.
“We live in a wonderful neighborhood on Lookout Mountain,” Dale said. He added the two enjoy the people in the Golden community and the beauty of the foothills. “Our Clear Creek valley is awesome.”
Dale worked as the director of environmental health for Jefferson County Public Health until he retired, again, in November 2011.
Dale enjoys golf, travel and spending time with his family. He has been involved in a number of Golden’s volunteer boards and commissions, including Planning Commission, the Citizens Budget Advisory Committee and the visitors’ center board, to name a few.
“The latest thing is this crazy thing called city council,” Dale said.
He took office in January 2018 and represents Golden’s Ward 3.
“His life has been a never-ending search for new ways to serve the public. He doesn’t just serve the public, he serves the public with all of his intense focus and energy,” Johnson said. Dale “is the ultimate public servant and he strongly believes the country needs strong, well-trained, intelligent public servants to succeed.”
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