Benzo earns lifetime achievement award, office named in her honor

Brooke County Clerk Sylvia Benzo celebrated her last day of work Friday surrounded by friends, family and co-workers. Benzo has served as the county clerk for 48 years. Seen in the photo is her grandson Bryce Bateman greeting Benzo with flowers in front of the newly dedicated clerk office in the Brooke County Courthouse. -- Taryn Linder

WELLSBURG — Brooke County Clerk Sylvia Benzo was greeted with a number of surprises Friday after walking out of the County Clerk Offices and into a room full of friends, family and co-workers that she has gained throughout her 48 years of service.

Representatives of Secretary of State Mac Warner, Jason Parsons and Shane Kirtner, attended the gathering on Waner’s behalf.

“Let me just say, of all the times politicians would say they’re sorry they cannot be there because they are off doing something else, if he (Warner) didn’t just have knee surgery last Friday, this would be the last thing in the world he would miss because Sylvia is the best county clerk in the state,” said Parsons.

After greeting the sea of people came surprise number two, when Parsons presented the Lifetime Achievement in Public Service award from the National Association of Secretaries of State.

“Secretary Waner nominated Sylvia for the Lifetime Achievement award from the National Association of Secretaries of State,” began Parsons. “We came to tell you that you have been award the Lifetime Achievement in Public Service.”

However, even with all the surprises, the Brooke County Commissioners still had one more left.

After being prompted to look above the County Clerk Office door, Benzo found a plaque in her name.

“All of us, as a county, wanted to thank you and have you know we feel you have been such a big part of this county and had such a positive impact,” said Commissioner Stacey Wise. “We wanted to dedicate the room to you.”

“Thank you all so much,” said Benzo. “It’s been a pleasure serving the citizens of Brooke County for the past 48 years. It’s been a wonderful experience.”

Commissioner A.J Thomas noted that although Benzo’s last day was Friday, she should still expect some knocks at her door.

“We are going to miss Sylvia so much,” Thomas said. “She’s been a fixture in this county and really someone we were so proud to show off as a face of the county.”

Commissioner Tim Ennis agreed that Benzo will be missed.

“The people of Brooke County have been greatly served by Sylvia for many years,” noted Ennis. “Her patience, understanding and commitment to Brooke County will surely be missed, but we wish her all the best in her retirement.”

Benzo’s daughter, Amanda Bateman, and grandson, Bryce, were two of the faces in the crowd of people that attended the goodbye celebration in order to show their support.

“We are so proud of her, but we are happy to have her home after 48 years,” said Bateman.

Bryce added that the county has nothing to worry about with his grandmother.

“I’ll keep her busy,” he said.

The Brooke County Commissioners announced on May 28 that Kim Barbetta will be filling the role as Brooke County Clerk.

Barbetta has worked under Benzo for about 12 years in the County Clerk Office.

“We are confident Kimmy will do an amazing job,” said Thomas.

In her final remarks, Benzo quoted her favorite motto, “The beat goes on.”

(Linder can be contacted at tlinder@heraldstaronline.com)