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Retiring court clerk leaves trail of good will, hard work

February 27, 2006|by MARLO BARNHART

HAGERSTOWN

marlob@herald-mail.com

When Virginia "Ginny" Danko leaves her desk for the last time Feb. 28, she will take away many, many memories of her more than 30 years clerking for the District Court of Maryland.

More importantly, she will leave behind a tradition of hard work, professionalism and a fun work environment, all of which she labored to instill and hopes will continue after she's gone.

Her supervisor, Dixie Scholtes, administrative clerk for the courts in Washington and Frederick counties, credits Danko with having great people skills.

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"She is dealing with people in their worst moments, and she does it very well," Scholtes said.

And as for her relationships with co-workers, Danko said she always considered professionalism to be one of the most important qualities in a court employee.

Scholtes said Danko was particularly good at keeping people motivated.

"We have a lot of improvement committees, and Ginny started them up," she said.

From time to time, interns come to work at the District Court from area colleges and Danko said she likes for them to see how experienced professional women handle their jobs.

"When I started in 1971 at the District Court in Frederick County, there were no computers," Danko said. "We all worked on manual typewriters then and filed green court tickets by hand."

Over the years, the workload has grown and grown but the staff hasn't increased accordingly to keep up, she said.

"The domestic cases make the biggest difference in that workload increase," Danko said.

After a few years, Danko transferred to the District Court in Washington County. Except for a four-year stint in the Frederick office from 1997 to 2001, she worked in Washington County, retiring as a county clerk, level 2.

In the District Court office, the staff created a special bulletin board with pictures of Danko as a young girl, a young wife and mother, and now grandmother of four.

"Most of all, I want to spend more time with my family," Danko said. She and her husband of 37 years, John, have two sons, Kevin and Mark.

While she has volunteered throughout her career and been involved in Scouting for more than 20 years, Danko wants to expand into new territory.

"I am looking forward to getting into therapy dog work," she said. She wants to get training with her Bichon, Millie, to become a team in this relatively new field.

She said she will visit with residents at area nursing homes when not involved in therapy work.

A party to celebrate Danko's career is planned for March 4 in Frederick County. Danko's successor is Sara Snyder, who has been with the court for more than 20 years.

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