HARROD — Bill Gossard, or as his friends call him, “Billy,” has dedicated his life to the small village of Harrod.
He moved his family from Lima to Harrod in December 1964, opening Bill’s World Famous Barbershop.
One day, Chester Rex was there getting his hair cut and urged Gossard to run for Village Council. Well, Gossard was elected and began a lifetime of public service in January 1966 when he was 31.
Gossard ran for mayor and was sworn into office in January 1976.
He served as mayor for 20 years and between 1998 and 2015 he served on the council again.
He’s 83 now and the people of Harrod wanted to do something to let him know he was appreciated. They held a special dinner and reception for Gossard on Sunday afternoon at the village fire station.
“People finally found out what I had been doing,” Gossard said with a laugh.
Gossard said getting a sewer system in Harrod 20 years ago was his biggest accomplishment.
In 1984, Gossard helped obtain $1.3 million in funds and grants to construct the sewer system. Also, more than $500,000 in U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development grants were acquired to help 37 homes hook up to the sewer system.
Another thing he did was obtain the railroad right of way so they could build the Harrod Railroad Heritage Park and the adjoining Veterans Memorial Park.
“There’s probably visitors every day,” Gossard said.
Gossard was also chairman of the Heritage Pork Rind festival for many years.
Tony Blake, Village Council president, helped organize Bill Gossard Day on Sunday.
“I’ve known Billy ever since I was a child. I’ve watched Billy be a part of about anything and everything here in the village of Harrod and for the community. As I see Billy get older I’ve taken on quite a few of his responsibilities and the more responsibilities I’ve taken on, I’ve come to the conclusion that he’s had a lot on his plate over the years. I really wanted to make a special day for Billy so that’s why we’re here today,” Blake said.
Gossard received a plaque and a special letter from state Rep. Bob Cupp.
He also received plaques from the village of Harrod, the Pork Rind Festival Committee and the historical society thanking him for his lifetime of service to the community.
Reach Sam Shriver at 567-242-0409.