Master Sgt. Jim Doten

Master Sgt. Jim Doten

Jim Doten by far isn’t the first city employee activated for military service, and he’ll likely not be the last during the current spate of conflicts, but he stood in for those employees Friday during a brief recognition Friday by the City Council.

Doten, 49, of St. Louis Park,departs Oct. 1 for a year in Afghanistan, where his expertise as a hydrologist and beekeeper will contribute to a Minnesota-Mississippi team of more than 50 soldiers. They’ll work with Afghans on sustainable crop production increases, developing markets and rehabbing watersheds, including improving irrigation efficiency.

He joined the city last year as an environmental inspector for the Department of Regulatory Services. His most notable achievement there so far is inspecting close to 1,000 sets of pollution control equipment to update city records, sometimes working 10 hours a day to meet a year-end deadline.

In 29 years split between the Army Reserve and National Guard, the master sergeant has been decorated numerous times for his accomplishments. He was called up for duty as a NATO liaison in Kosovo in 2003-2004, and in 2009-2010 served in Iraq on the inspector general staff for his Minnesota-based guard division.

The City Council resolution commending Doten is a precursor to hopes by Council President Barb Johnson for a recognition event for all city employees who have served recently. “The city has been a very veteran-friendly organization,” Doten told the council.