VERNON (KFDX/KJTL) — A career in public service spanning decades and across three counties is certainly one to be proud of.

“If it wasn’t for all my friends and colleagues, the journey wouldn’t have been as good,” Judge Dan Mike Bird said.

46th District Judge Dan Mike Bird has had quite the journey.

“I started out as District Attorney for 18 years, and then I’ve been District Judge for 16 years, so the last 35 years or so,” Judge Bird said.

During those times, Judge Bird said it was his will to serve his community to the absolute best of his ability that kept him going. Something current 46th Judicial District Attorney Staley Heatly said has even shaped him.

“Having the opportunity to work in the courtroom with Judge Bird has been just incredible for my career. Seeing how he is a professional, how he operates in the courtroom, he’s been a very good role model for me,” Heatly said.

But now after all this time of calling the Wilbarger, Hardeman and Foard County Courthouses home, Judge Bird is putting down his gavel and leaving the courtroom to enjoy his retirement.

“I feel good to be here. It’s gone by in a flash and I’ll particularly miss all the people who really helped me along the way,” Bird said.

As for what Bird plans to do with all of his extra time, Heatly said he may have an idea of what his buddy will be up to.

“Judge Bird loves to travel. He loves to go to the mountains in Colorado, in Montana, Wyoming, and I hope he has many years of taking great trips up there,” Heatly said.

“It’s been a good ride. I’ve really enjoyed it! The people of this district have been really good to me,” Bird said.

Judge Bird’s position will be taken by Vernon attorney Cornell Curtis.