BROOKSVILLE - Cristi Charlow recalls when she was 17 years old and started working in the office of former Risk Manager Flora "Flo" Boles.
Boles took her under her wing and showed her the ropes of a department that often operates under the radar but is integral to the operations of every department, said Charlow, risk management coordinator.
Boles passed away Thursday after retiring in 2009. But her influence continues to resonate at the government center and many of the initiatives she introduced in her 16 years on the job continue to this day.
"She was very much respected by everyone in that organization, even to this day," Charlow said. "She knew her stuff."
During her tenure, Boles developed an effective loss control and prevention program for Hernando County, received commendations from the Florida Department of Labor and Employment Security and picked up the coveted Public Risk Management Association Chapter Service Award.
"She made risk management what it is now," Charlow said.
Boles' health declined soon after retirement, and she passed away Thursday at Heartland of Brooksville where she had resided for nearly two years, a county press release said.
Before her tenure with risk management, Boles worked in the Department of Public Works and then the Budget Office.
Her accomplishments earned many commendations, awards and praise, such as being selected to represent Florida as a guest speaker at the National Public Risk Management Association conference in 1992. She served 10 years as an officer for the Florida Public Risk Management Association.
Charlow said Boles definitely had an assertive personality and was well-known by everyone from staffers to county commissioners.
Despite her "tell it like it is" attitude, she had compassion and humor, a release said.
A memorial service is scheduled for 2:30 p.m. Sunday at Grace World Outreach Church, 20366 Cortez Blvd., Brooksville.
Flowers may be sent to the church and/or contributions made to Heartland of Brooksville, 575 Lamar Ave., Brooksville.