Friday, February 03, 2023

editorial: At NIC, 'emeritus' equals 'courage'

| August 26, 2022 1:00 AM

“Emeritus” is someone who’s retired but, as an honor bestowed upon them by others, retains their title. Think of it as a parting gift, a warm embrace that lasts much longer than a hug.

In Christie Wood’s case, “emeritus” status was graciously given to her this week by the North Idaho College board of trustees. For almost two decades, Wood was a member of the college’s governing board, so on length of service alone she merits the emeritus moniker, as does the venerable Judy Meyer, Wood's mentor.

But there’s a problem. Wood, who resigned earlier this year with Ken Howard in a strategic move to save NIC from extremists’ torpedoes, has long been a glutton for punishment — better known as public service. There’s a conundrum over how to fit so many deserved emerituses behind her name and titles on a single sheet of paper.

Wood served as a law enforcement specialist in the U.S. Air Force before joining the Coeur d’Alene Police Department. Twenty-six years later, she retired from the PD as a sergeant.

Meanwhile, she made time to serve her community as a Coeur d’Alene School Board member from 2000 to 2008, served on the city’s Parks & Recreation Commission, and is now a Coeur d’Alene City Council member, having been elected in 2019.

Perhaps most importantly, Christie joined the Kootenai County Task Force on Human Relations in 2007 and, for most of the last decade, has served as the organization’s president. She and Task Force Secretary Tony Stewart have been on the front lines of every significant human rights issue in our community for many years.

A common thread in Christie Wood’s DNA, besides the insatiable appetite to serve others, is courage. While we can’t attest to any dire disputes during her Parks Commission gig (her tenure started after the McEuen Park civil war), Christie has confronted hate, intolerance, threats, ignorance, lawlessness and blatant stupidity with unwavering courage.

To be clear, if her beloved college’s very existence were not at risk, Wood would still be on the board. Stepping away took far more guts than staying on.

For those who aren’t members of Christie’s fan club, we’ve got some bad news for you. Last year when she was inducted into the Idaho Hall of Fame for Outstanding Service in Human Rights and Public Service, she said in her acceptance speech: “I intend to keep paying it forward for many years to come. I have a lot left in me.”

Congratulations to Christie Wood on her latest honor and thanks to Trustees David Wold, John Goedde and Pete Broschet for recognizing this selfless and serious volunteer. She's the antithesis to the other two members of the NIC board, which is a glowing endorsement for Christie in itself.

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