Well-loved maintenance helper hangs up his tools

by Sue Austreng
Contributing Writer
Though small in stature, Jeff Veit is giant in heart and service.

Always eager to please, happy to help and determined to persevere, Veit devoted 35 years to service as maintenance helper at the Sherburne County Government Center.

Poor health challenged his stamina and taxed his reserve but never extinguished his resolve. Those health concerns, however finally forced his retirement and he reluctantly hung up his shovel and broom Dec. 20.

Submitted photo  Health concerns forced an early retirement for longtime government center employee Jeff Veit.
Submitted photo
Health concerns forced an early retirement for longtime government center employee Jeff Veit.

“He’s a great person, very handy – he basically did everything – and you knew if you asked him to do something it was done right. I’m really going to miss him. He’s going to be well-missed by everyone at the government center, you couldn’t ask for a better employee,” said former Sheriff and County Commissioner Bruce Anderson.

Veit’s former boss, assistant building facilities director Bill Marks, agreed and expressed his admiration for the hardworking employee.

“He had health challenges most of his life, I think: kidney disease, transplants, surgeries, treatments that stunted his growth, he lost his hearing. … Me? I find all this little stuff to complain about in my life, and then there’s Jeff – always upbeat, always in a bright mood. We’d razz him and he’d razz back. You never see his challenges. I admire him so much I named my child after him,” Marks said.

Veit started his job with Sherburne County shortly after finishing high school in June 1981. His duties included custodial work and repairs, and as Anderson puts it, “He’d rather be at work than at home; the government center was his life.”

So committed was he to his government center work and the family he found there, folks say if it snowed overnight, you could count on him being out there at 4 or 5 in the morning, shoveling sidewalks and clearing the area before the first people arrived at the center.

So dedicated was he to his work he never took a day off, Marks said.
“He got up every day and came to work. He was such a fixture at the government center, such a personality,” he said.

His favorite task among his many responsibilities at the center was grounds maintenance.

“That was his baby,” Marks said. “Cutting the grass, trimming shrubs, shoveling sidewalks, outdoor equipment repair. He loved all of that.”
On the courthouse side of the government center, Anderson also witnessed Veit’s diligence and expertise.

“Anything you needed done, he could do it. You need something hung on the wall? Jeff’s your man. Got a stain on the carpet? Jeff will take care of it. Need anything cleaned or repaired? He’ll do it and do it right,” Anderson said.

Veit could not be reached for comment but folks at the government center expressed heartfelt wishes that his health improves and days go well in his retirement.

“He was one of the most reliable people I’ve ever known. He is greatly missed here at the government center, but now he can focus on his health. We wish him the very best,” Marks said.