CLAY CENTER (KSNT) – Dana Rickley has been Clay County’s Health Administrator for nearly 25 years. Although she is the boss at the health department, that’s not the way she likes to think about it.

“They tell me things that they want to do and then I find a way to make it happen and when we work together I become their employee,” Rickley said.

Whether it’s checking in patients at a family planning clinic or doing COVID testing during the pandemic, Rickley was there for it all.

“I’ve been out there doing the testing when it is snowing,” Rickley said. “I’ve been out there when you have to get the samples outside and then bring them inside because it’s too cold to do the controls.”

She says she will never ask her team to do something that she’s not willing to do herself.

“Because of that she certainly has the admiration and respect of her colleagues that she leads here,” Lori Martin said.

Martin is the community mobilizer at the Clay County Health Department. She is the one who nominated Rickley for the Remarkable Women series.

“She’s very caring and compassionate,” Martin said.

Most importantly, she says that Rickley always remembers to check-in and see how the job is affecting her team.

“I think people sometimes lose sight of that, that all of those people out there on the front line that are taking care of you also have their own stuff going on,” Martin said.

Because what started out as a normal job quickly became very public during the pandemic.

“In the early beginnings of COVID I would get my feelings hurt all the time just because people were so rude on the phone,” Rickley said.

But on the other hand, there are moments like being nominated for the Remarkable Women series.

“I was overwhelmed that people thought of me that way and that they appreciated the things that I do for the community basically behind the scenes,” Rickley said.

Because the public health is working when no one is watching.