By Karl Terry: PNT Managing Editor
A banner proclaimed Donald (D.K.) Shafer as “The working man’s advocate.”
Lots of testimony at his retirement reception Monday at the Memorial Building bore that statement out.
Fellow councilors, friends and family gathered at the Memorial Building to wish the former Portales mayor and city councilman well on his retirement.
Shafer retired last month, shortly after winning re-election to his council seat when the opportunity to move to Clovis and work with family came up for Shafer and his wife Pam.
“The residents of this town will really miss you as a friend,” said former councilor Cotton Clark.
Shafer said that he and Clark were the only councilors left who served with former mayor James Kiker, who died this past year. Shafer credited Clark and Kiker as well as former mayor Mike Burns for teaching him the ropes in city government.
“We’ve kind of taken D.K for granted,” Mayor Orlando Ortega Jr. said. “He was always there when we needed him.”
During the reception, various presentations were made to Shafer, including the Excellence in Citizenship Award and a proclamation read in turns by city staff, naming him a perpetual honorary citizen.
“You’re always going to be a citizen of our city, whether you like it or not,” Ortega said. “We wouldn’t be where we are today without you.”
City Clerk Joan Martinez-Terry said Shafer was always a calm and steadying force as a mayor and councilor.
She recalled a difficult time when the city council was under fire from the community when a light bulb above their heads popped. She said she made to dive for the floor, thinking it might be gunfire, but Shafer was mostly unshaken.
“He’s done this for 34 years,” Ortega said. “That’s a lot of dedication.”