Dick Hebert retires after 37 years with Chippewa Falls parks department

Published: Apr. 2, 2021 at 4:00 PM CDT
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CHIPPEWA FALLS, Wis. (WEAU) - Not many can retire after working at the same place for 37 years.

One man who can say that is Dick Hebert, who retired from his post as Director of Chippewa Falls Parks and Forestry on Wednesday.

“Growing up I didn’t realize how fortunate we are to have Irvine Park,” he says.

Hebert has fond childhood memories in Chippewa Falls parks.

“After Church we would drive through Irvine Park and I remember driving over the rumbly bridge and having picnics in the park Sunday after Church.”

The recently retired director graduated from McDonell Central High School in 1978 and went to UW-La Crosse with one goal in mind.

“I was kind of thinking about being a high school or college football coach for a profession.”

That changed after taking a parks and recreation class.

“The teacher stopped me one day as I was walking out of the class and said, hey you should consider pursuing this as a career and get your degree in parks and rec.”

Hebert graduated from UW-La Crosse in 1983 and was hired as the Recreation Supervisor at Chippewa Falls Parks and Forestry.

“My first day working was April 1, 1984,” he says. “I’m so proud of all the programs that we did run when I was the recreation supervisor and they were year round programs and they were very popular.”

After 27 years, he was then promoted to director where he spent the next 10 years undergoing key projects in Chippewa’s parks.

“We’ve had Erickson Park and we’ve had the welcome center and we’ve had the Riverfront Park, so we’ve accomplished a lot.”

Hebert says there was only one thing he could never get right throughout his career, depending on who you ask.

“I can’t win because if I say Irvine it’s not right and I say Irvine it’s not right, so anyway.”

Joking aside, after his years of public service, Hebert says it was the people that made his job enjoyable.

“I know I can’t thank everybody, so just thank you.”

Hebert says his time with the parks department is not entirely over.

He plans to become a volunteer in between finding time to play more golf and pickle ball and enjoying the parks he spent 37 years helping to transform.

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