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Family members of the late Kevin Kelley (left), the former Imperial Irrigation District general manager and native Imperial County son, is presented the Imperial County Medal of Merit in Kevin Kelley’s honor by Imperial County Board of Supervisors Chairman Michael Kelley, as the other members of the board look on. The presentation was made on Tuesday, April 6. | COURTESY PHOTO

Imperial County Awards Medal of Merit to the Late Kevin Kelley, former IID GM

Kevin Kelley, the former Imperial Irrigation District general manager, and a talented writer and musician, died in his home in El Centro on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Kelley was age 61. | PHOTO COURTESY OF IID

The Imperial County Board of Supervisors posthumously awarded the Medal of Merit to former Imperial Irrigation District General Manager and Imperial Valley native Kevin E. Kelley during its meeting on Tuesday, April 6.

An advocate of the Imperial Valley throughout his professional career, Kelley served as general manager of the IID for eight years, guiding the district in protecting the Imperial Valley’s water rights, bringing attention to the Salton Sea, and continuously striving to make the Imperial County a better place for all, according to a press release from the county.

Prior to being named general manager, Kelley’s career included working for the El Centro Chamber of Commerce, co-founding Valley Grower magazine, serving as opinion page editor of the Imperial Valley Press, and leading the IID from 2011 until his retirement in 2019.

Kelley’s parents and family accepted the award on his behalf.

The Imperial County Medal of Merit. | COURTESY PHOTO

“The Kelley family is honored to accept the medal and recognition on behalf of our departed son, father, brother,” shared District 4 Supervisor Ryan Kelley, Kevin Kelley’s brother. “Kevin would enjoy the ceremony and take the opportunity to acknowledge all the people in his life that made an impact on him. Our family thanks the Board of Supervisors and the county of Imperial for this honor and we know Kevin is enjoying it as well.”

“Kevin Kelley’s death is an enormous loss to our community,” board Chairman Mike Kelley said. “His contributions and insight helped shape the IID and the Imperial Valley, and his legacy will live on for years.”

In addition to his work with IID and as a noted local writer, Kevin Kelley was known as a talented musician and somewhat of a local historian. He died in his home in El Centro on Tuesday, Jan. 19. Kelley was age 61.

Read an in-depth story Kevin Kelley’s passing previously published in this newspaper.

The Imperial County Medal of Merit is an award created by the Board of Supervisors in order to commemorate outstanding commitment and dedication to community and civic service, goodwill, and/or acts of heroism by Imperial County residents.

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