Friends say goodbye to chief |

Friends say goodbye to chief

Hayden's Jody Lenahan's last day ends with a party

Retired Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan, left, laughs with friends Ron and Arta Wray during the chief's retirement party Friday at Hayden Town Hall. Another party is today from noon to 3 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Hayden.
Matt Stensland

— Hayden Police Chief Jody Lenahan’s last day on the job was just how he liked it.

“Pretty quiet,” said Lenahan, a soft-spoken man who has been the chief for 27 years.

Friends, colleagues and family sent Lenahan off Friday at the Hayden Town Hall, during his retirement party.

Old stories were shared, including tales about skunks and a woman who once tried to bring a goat into a bar.

Lenahan spent his last day packing up his office, thinking of the future and remembering the past. He also had lunch with some friends.

“A lot of people have been patting me on the back and thanking me,” Lenahan said. “It makes me feel really good.”

The town gave Lenahan a clock as a retirement gift. He also received a pair of insoles for his flat feet.

“I enjoyed working with him and for him,” said Ron Wray, a former Hayden reserve police officer. “I wish him the best of luck. I hate to see him go. He’s a good man.”

Lenahan’s daughter Jennifer Valora also was at the party.

“He’s been chief of police ever since I can remember,” Valora said. “I hope I can someday have the respect that half the people have for him. I am very proud of him.”

There were both advantages and disadvantages to growing up with the police chief as your father, she said.

“When I got into elementary school it was pretty neat,” Valora said. “When I got into high school it was a little different. There are a lot of eyes in this town.”

Hayden police officer Darin Falk’s father hired Lenahan on to the force when he was chief. Falk said Lenahan was a good man to work for, and things are going to be different for everyone without Jody.

“Everyone has grown up with Jody as an icon here,” Falk said.

Eva Gibbon has a good idea for Lenahan on how he can spend his free time.

“I keep on trying to get him to do Pilates and now he will hopefully have time,” said Gibbon, who became friends with Jody because their kids grew up together.

“I don’t think I’m limber enough,” Lenahan said.

Lenahan, who said he retired voluntarily, will start looking for a new job on Monday.

“Something with less stress and something different,” he said.

There will be another party today from noon to 3 p.m. at the American Legion Hall in Hayden.

“It’s open to everyone, and we’re hoping for a good turnout,” Valora said.

– To reach Matt Stensland, call 871-4210 or e-mail

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