Twist of fate – and of an ankle – brought couple together
DILLON VALLEY – Scott and Jody Vargo literally stumbled upon one another. The two met in a Minnesota bar one night in the early ’90s, quite by accident.
“I stepped on his foot,” Jody said. “He thought I was flirting with him, and I just played along from there.”
Both Minnesota natives were in their early 20s then. Eleven years later, they are the parents of two, and they say Summit County is the only place they want to be. The Vargos own a home a stone’s throw away from Dillon Valley Elementary, where oldest daughter Riley is a kindergartner. That’s just one of the reasons they like their lives here.
“I love where we are,” Jody said. “Summit County’s just a great community, a great place to raise kids. We have great neighbors. We’re close to the school.”
They’ve also worked out a lifestyle that allows them to focus plenty of time and attention on their children.
Scott works as Summit County’s human resources director, and Jody stays home with the two children, 5-year-old Riley and 20-month-old Sydney.
It is a sweet life indeed. Scott and Jody laugh often with one another – and at the history that brought them here.
But it isn’t a life without stress. Recent, dramatic budget reductions within Summit County government have, Scott admitted, kept him tense. Last week, County Manager Ron Holliday announced five people will lose their jobs and services will be cut due to 2003 budget reductions. Increases in health insurance costs have also hit most employees in the pocketbook. Because of those changes, Scott said he’s been the bearer of bad news too often.
“When I’m walking around in the hall, people don’t know what I’m coming for,” he said. “I have sort of that grim reaper feeling.
“People have been on edge, but I think they’re a little more comfortable (now that the announcements have been made), knowing that there probably isn’t going to be any more major recommendations for change. I think things will get better. I think the approach we’ve taken is so conservative it should allow us to go into a major period without more changes.”
Nevertheless, Scott said his job is “the best thing I could have done.”
“It’s been an incredible experience for me,” he said.
Scott never set out to be a human resources director, or to live in Summit County. In 1994, he and Jody decided they’d had enough of Minnesota’s humid summers and bitterly cold winters. The two were engaged then, and Scott – who said he didn’t know a soul in Colorado – set out alone to find a job and a home for them in Denver . He left Jody in the middle of one of those harsh Midwestern winters.
“It was 25-below and 75-below windchill and he’d call and say, “It’s 60 degrees and I’m in shorts,'” she said. “And I’d say, “I hate you.'”
Scott found a job in Denver and came back for Jody. The two drove from Minnesota to their new home, a move he called “the most daring thing we’ve ever done.” It was hardly a smooth trip. On the way, a tire blew on the car, and in his efforts to change the tire, Scott said the jack went right through the undercarriage of the rusty vehicle. Instead, they had to find a repair shop. Back on the road, they drove into a snowstorm that further delayed their progress.
“We got here on Valentine’s Day 1994 and it was 70 degrees in Denver,” Jody said. “I said, “Thank God.'”
In 1999, Scott’s new job as Summit County’s human resources director brought them to Summit County.
Today, the two say their lives are almost completely focused on their young daughters. Parenthood, Scott said, “changes your life.”
“But it’s also a wonderful experience,” Jody said.
Much like their lives in Summit County.
Another incentive for keeping their feet on the ground: Before coming to Summit County, Jody said, she and Scott moved six times in the last five years.
“I don’t really want to move anytime soon,” she said, laughing.
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