After 19 years serving as the Destin Library director, Jurate Burns officially entered into retirement on Tuesday evening at her final retirement party.
The Calhoun Room of the library was filled with friends, coworkers and family members who have known Burns over the years.
It was clear to see how many people she touched during her almost two decades at the library’s helm.
“I have known Jurate for over 30 years, if not longer,” said Mary Martin. “She’s a wonderful person. Everything she touches, her whole heart goes into it. It’s going to be hard to find someone to fill her shoes.”
The Destin Garden Club gathered around the podium to thank Jurate for advocating for them with the city, and Burns then thanked the Garden Club in return, and said she was so grateful for everyone who came to party.
Appetizers, light bites, and a retirement cake were served, and outside of the Calhoun Room, a timeline-like display was set up of Burns’ life, starting from when she immigrated to the United States as a child and listing all of her contributions to the library and the community.
“I’ve worked here for four years, and Jurate has just been an incredible mentor,” said library staff member Megan Fontaine. “She’s motivated me to keep going. I hope I can be as influential to someone else in their career as she to me.”
City Councilwoman Prebble Ramswell attended the farewell party and also thanked Burns for her service to the community.
“Jurate is really irreplaceable. I don’t know how we’re ever going to fill her shoes," Ramswell said. "She’s put her touch and her mark on this library and our entire community and she’s going to be sorely missed.”
Each attendee seemed to have distinct memories of how Burns had influenced them or their family members over the years.
“I’m from South Dakota, and I don’t always like change, but I’m happy for Jurate,” said Destin resident Renee Wood. “She has done wonderful things for the library. Our daughter was able to name the Teen Area and all the extra programs that they’ve done here have been wonderful.”
Burns said that she’ll miss the day-to-day at the library, but she’s looking forward to waking up in the morning and being able to watch the morning news. She is planning a visit to South Carolina in June to visit her son and her grandchildren.
“This event is wonderful because people whom I haven’t seen in over 15 years are here. The first city manager, Larry Rubenstein, is here. It meant so much to me that everyone came.”