The Town of Bethlehem honored two of its former and most dedicated court employees at two ceremonies held last week.
On Thursday, June 27, the town held two separate events to recognize former Bethlehem Court Clerk Barbara Hodom and former Town Justice Mark Jordan. While one event was a joyous occasion, the other was more somber.
In the morning, family, friends and former colleagues of Hodom gathered at Bethlehem Town Court for a surprise celebration. Hodom was being honored for her more than 30 years of work with the court. She retired in 2008.
In order to keep the ceremony a surprise, Hodom was told she had a wedding ceremony to perform that morning, as she is still certified as a Justice of the Peace. Instead, she was told by judge Ryan Donovan that she was being honored for her years of service and having the courtroom dedicated in her name.
“We were finally able to keep a secret in Bethlehem,” said Donovan.
The justice reminisced about his first time meeting Hodom and recounted some of her many accomplishments, but said the best way to understand her impact on the town is to look at the numbers.
Hodom was the clerk for the Bethlehem Town Clerk for 11,022 days with 132,000 cases adjudicated during that time, according to Donovan. Hodom had 11 judges report to her over the years, seven supervisors were guided to her and hundreds of attorneys did what she said.
“She’s made a huge and lasting impact on this town and on this court,” said Donovan. “This was more than a job to Barbara, as we all know. She was dedicated, she was committed, she came here after hours when needed and treated her staff like family.”
Starting in 1978, Hodom has worked with the Town of Bethlehem as court clerk, with responsibilities such as being in charge of court records, getting files ready for the different courts and overseeing the staff in a job that she said remained varied and interesting over the years.
Hodom was then told that from now on, Bethlehem’s courtroom will be known as the Barbara Hodom Courtroom.
Hodom said she was shocked and thanked nearly everyone in the room before making her rounds to chat with those in attendance.
“I just don’t know what to say. This means so much,” she said.
Later that afternoon, former Town Justice Mark Jordan was honored with a small ceremony outside of Town Hall at which a bench was dedicated in his memory and a tree was planted.
Jordan, 50, died suddenly in January after suffering a brain aneurysm. He had previously served half of a term as a member of the Bethlehem Town Board before running for justice in 2011. Jordan also had a law practice in Delmar.
Family, friends and colleagues met to remember Jordan and his time working with the town. He was recalled as an honest, good-humored and hardworking man who loved his family. The bench that was dedicated also included a plaque with Jordan’s face on it and some information about him.
After the outdoor ceremony, those in attendance moved inside for the unveiling of a portrait of Jordan and a plaque that was mounted inside the courtroom.
“We want to make sure that no one ever forgets Mark. I know I won’t,” said Donovan, who was not only a friend, but fellow justice. “We are now going to have him in our court forever.”