When Constable Paul Gilbert took office in January 1983, Ronald Reagan was in the second year of his first term, Harry Reid had just arrived in the House of Representatives, and Lt. Gov. Brian Krolicki was still in college.
On Jan. 7, Gilbert recounted those details as he was honored by commissioners for being the longest-serving elected Douglas County official, having served 30 years in office so far, more than half his life.
"I have worked with 37 different county commissioners," he said. "They've all been wonderful - some more wonderful than others."
"I've worked with eight county managers and 13 judges," he said.
"This is just to show how much I appreciate my fellow county employees," Gilbert said. "They have become good friends and family.
"But it's really been an honor to serve the people of Douglas County for over 30 years."
Gilbert's public service career began in high school. He was a founding member of the Douglas County Sheriff's Office cadet program in 1972 while a junior. He served with the sheriff's office reserves where he oversaw the cadet and reserve programs, earning the rank of captain.
Sheriff Dave McCreary hired Gilbert as a dispatcher in 1974 while he was a senior. He was hired by Sheriff Jerry Maple in 1978 as a deputy assigned to the jail where he was promoted to supervisor.
He was hired as "town man," and walked the streets of Minden and Gardnerville checking doors and keeping fire watch.
Gilbert worked in the private sector in 1980, but returned to law enforcement when he ran for East Fork constable in 1982.
He took office in January 1983, and has retained the position since. Gilbert took over duties of Tahoe Township constable in 2003 when the office holder resigned in mid-term.
In addition, Gilbert serves as judge pro tem for both justice courts, and is coordinator for Douglas County grand juries.
Sheriff Ron Pierini talked about Gilbert's work in providing security at the judicial and law enforcement building, and his devotion to public safety.
"We're blessed to have this man in that position," Pierini said. "He's a great elected official and a great person."
Clerk-Treasurer Ted Thran echoed Pierini's sentiments, citing Gilbert's work in providing security at polling places during elections.