For more than eight years, Ray Hofman has worked at the Clay County Courthouse as Veterans Service assistant.
That changed Monday, when he began serving his new role as Clay County Register of Deeds.
Although he will miss his old position, Hofman said he is excited for the future.
Im kind of a service-oriented guy, he said. I like public service. Ive done it for years, and I think Ill do a good job for the public.
Hofman began his work for the county in April 2002, and ran in the Democratic primary for the Register of Deeds position. As there were no Republican contenders, he simply had to wait for the new year to arrive before he could take over.
Its been kind of a long wait, he said.
After spending the past two weeks training for his new role with another training session scheduled in Pierre this March Hofman is eager to get to work.
I think probably the most interesting part is the land, and how the land is broken up into sections, townships and ranges, he said. I did a little bit with planning and zoning, but this is much more detailed and much more interesting.
Hofman said he also likes the fact that he had to be elected to his new position something he has experienced in the past, as well.
I was a city councilman, he said. I like (being) an elected official, more than just an employee. I like to have the people of the county say, Youre the guy. That makes me feel good.
A native of Clay County, Hofman attended country school north of Vermillion before moving to town in 1962.
I am a hometown boy, and Im sure that helped with the election. People know me, he said.
After he graduated from high school, Hofman joined the Army, serving from 1974-1976.
It was kind of the tail-end of Viet Nam, he said. I was always stationed stateside. I went into the service as an MP, and then I did physical security at a nuclear weapons base in Illinois. It was during that time that you could sign up for two years and pick what you wanted to be.
After his discharge, he served 25 years with the Vermillion Police Department.
I started out as a patrolman, and in 1988 I got moved up to detective, he said.
Hofman retired from the police department in 2001 and kicked around doing various jobs in the community.
Then the Veterans Service job opened up, and I thought, That would be a good job. I could do that. Ive loved it ever since, he said. Its (about) helping veterans in any way you can, whether that be getting them enrolled in the VA health care system, with compensation, with guys coming back that are hurt, or even with the older fellows and their pension allotments. It can be just about anything. Whatever they needed, we would try to help get it for them.
Hofman lives in Vermillion with Pam, his wife of 30 years. The couple have two grown children, Alex and Ariel.
When hes not working in the courthouse, Hofman serves as youth director for St. Agnes Parish.
Although hes excited about his new job, he said he will miss providing assistance to area veterans.
These guys coming home from Iraq, its tough over there, Hofman said. And of course the old-timers, the Korean and World War II guys are just fun because theyve got a lot of knowledge and information from the way things used to be. Its great stuff.
But Ill still be here. Thats what I told my veterans. Ill be just across the hall, and if you want to come talk to me, you can come talk to me, he said.