Log In


Reset Password
News Local News Nation & World New Mexico Education

Rep. Lauren Boebert pays tribute to former Sheriff Duke Schirard

Congresswoman gives flag and copy of speech to his ex-wife
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert honored the memory of longtime La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard by giving his former wife, Lucia, a copy of a speech she read on the House floor and a flag that flew atop the Capitol building during a visit Jan. 15 at Durango's Cowboy Church. (Courtesy of Lauren Boebert’s office)

James “Jardi” Schirard says he was pleasantly surprised to learn Rep. Lauren Boebert wanted to honor the legacy of his father with a speech in the U.S. House of Representatives.

Jardi’s father, Sydney “Duke” Schirard, 80, died in December after battling a staph infection. He served five terms as sheriff for La Plata County, from 1994 to 2014, making him the longest-serving sheriff since the founding of the La Plata County Sheriff’s Office in 1871.

“To me and my family, this is a highlight of his career and what he has done for not only La Plata County, but law enforcement in general,” Jardi said.

A spokesperson for Boebert said the congresswoman was inspired to honor the sheriff's legacy of service after reading a story about Shirard’s death in The Durango Herald.

Schirard
Boebert

“For 20 years, Sheriff Schirard fought the good fight, and he finished his race well,” Boebert said in her speech on the House floor. “His watch may be over, but the community he protected will forever be better because of his efforts day in and day out. While others ran away from danger, he ran toward it and woke up with courage each and every day to serve and protect his community.”

Boebert combed through news stories about Schirard to prepare for the speech and was impressed by his length of service and the respect he gained in the community, the spokesperson said.

Boebert, who gained national attention for her firebrand gun rights activism, aligned with Schirard’s long history of backing the Second Amendment. In 1994, Schirard won his first election for sheriff after running on a gun-rights platform, and throughout his career, he took pride in issuing concealed-carry gun permits.

Boebert’s office asked to present Jardi with a flag flown over the U.S. Capitol and a copy of the speech she gave about Schirard on the House floor. Because Jardi lives in Florida, Jardi asked Lucia Schirard, Duke’s former wife, to accept the gesture in his stead.

“Duke was a huge supporter of (Rep. Boebert), and I know he just would have been tickled pink,” Lucia said, describing him as a “staunch conservative.”

Most election days turned out to be just another day in the office for 20-year La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard. Election Day 2014, however, wasn’t all smiles. After easily winning three consecutive elections, he was beaten by Sean Smith after running what most critics considered a laid-back campaign. (Jerry McBride/Durango Herald file)

Boebert presented the flag and speech to Lucia on Jan. 15 outside Durango's Cowboy Church. Lucia described it as a “very special moment.”

Lucia said the speech and flag will be framed and displayed, likely in Jardi’s home in Florida. His ashes will eventually be spread throughout a family ranch where Schirard spent much of his leisure time.

Skye Witley, a senior at American University in Washington, D.C., is an intern for The Durango Herald and The Journal in Cortez.

U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert honored the memory of long-time La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard by giving his former wife, Lucia, a copy of a speech she read on the House floor and a flag that flew atop the Capitol building during a visit Jan. 15 at Durango's Cowboy Church. (Courtesy of Lauren Boebert's office)
U.S. Rep. Lauren Boebert honored the memory of long-time La Plata County Sheriff Duke Schirard by giving his former wife, Lucia, a copy of a speech she read on the House floor and a flag that flew atop the Capitol building during a visit Jan. 15 at Durango's Cowboy Church. (Courtesy of Lauren Boebert's office)
Reader Comments