If you have a question or concern about public works, Denise Roeper may just have the answer.
She started with the city's department in 1996 as an office assistant, and later was promoted to office manager in 2004. Her job is comprised of a many small tasks, she said--from working with purchase orders and invoices to logging problems reported by residents. She and her team are also liaisons between Waste Pro and the city.
“I’ve been there 23 years, so anything that people need they kind of know I may be able to find it," Roeper said.
Sometimes, finding answers for residents isn't easy. She gets the occasional irate citizen, but over the years, Roeper has realized that people's situations aren't always what they appear. She said she tries to look at the issue through their eyes.
You never know what's going on in their lives, Roeper explained. Maybe, they've just received bad news or had a terrible day.
“I try to give them the benefit of the doubt— that they’re being grumpy for a reason, she said.
"Denise has an answer to almost any question you can come up with. She is dependable, sharp, and works tirelessly to keep our residents informed when they reach out, especially during an emergency. We are so grateful for her dedication and wealth of knowledge. She has been with the city for 23 years and is a dedicated public servant who truly embodies the community spirit of Ormond Beach."
Joyce Shanahan, Ormond Beach city manager
But one of the most rewarding parts is being able to help, especially when it comes to the elderly residents who are frustrated.
"They still may not be able to understand what you did for them, but you know that you were able to help them," Roeper said.
Working in public works wasn't in her plans. In 1996, she was a single mom with two kids. She just needed a job to support her family.
That job has brought her happiness. It's where she met her husband, who retired 11 years ago from the department's water division. They've been married for 12 years.
And whether she is keeping track of construction debris contracts, working with other division managers or answering questions for residents before and after a hurricane, she sees that all her "small tasks" make a difference.
“I found that I was good at what I did, and I saw that people appreciated what I did," Roeper said.
Her husband has been on the mend from a surgery for the last couple of weeks, and she's been realizing how important it is to live "every day as if it is your last."
“You have to live in the moment," Roeper said. "You have to enjoy every day and be thankful for every day."
But also, Roeper said planning for the future is not a bad idea.