WAPAKONETA — Recently retired Auglaize County Commissioner Don Regula says he appreciated every opportunity he had to serve the people. Since his last day Dec. 31, he’s had time to reflect on his years of public service and how he got there.
Regula said he decided to retire after 12 years as a commissioner because he felt it was time to get some fresh ideas in the office.
“I know my successor Dave Bambauer will offer a different perspective,” he said. He also said that Bambauer will find a great team to work with.
Regula did come to the commissioner role with an abundance of public service experiences including 20 years as a Clay Township trustee. He also was an officer in the Auglaize Soil and Water Conservation District, spent two years as president of the County Township Association and was vice chair of Auglaize County Republican Central Committee.
How he became commissioner was a measure of this determination to serve. Regula recalled he ran four times against current commissioner Ivo Kramer. When Kramer retired, Regula said “people already thought I was the commissioner,” and he stepped into Kramer’s shoes in 2008.
Regula said becoming a commissioner was a real eye opener.
“It was a whole new ballgame, but I liked working hand-in-hand with other agencies,” he said. “I learned a lot from the taxpayers too.”
Regula said his proudest accomplishment was to be part of the 2012 renovation of the Auglaize County Courthouse. The ambitious $8 million project involved adding a third story and modernizing the rest of the building. The commissioners had the money gathered before the project began so that no debt was incurred.
“One help was receiving a $1 million stimulus grant during the Obama administration in 2010,” he said, “plus other grants we were awarded.”
He said he was glad they had disregarded some who thought it would be best to bulldoze the 1890s-era courthouse. Instead, the renovation both preserved a piece of the county’s history and relieving crowding.
“The county prosecutor and law library moved up to the new third floor,” he said.
Other projects he assisted with was the building of the county’s new dog kennel by state Route 33. Of the modern facility, he says “It’s really beautiful, and it’s paid for too.”
Other projects he points to with pride includes the renovation of the ABC School in New Bremen, Ohio as well as the recent building of a new terminal at the Neil Armstrong Airport in New Knoxville.
He also shared what he is doing now.
“My nephew has taken over operation of my 400 acres in Clay Township because I retired from farming, too,” said Regula.
“He lets me drive the tractor whenever I want,” he laughed.
The writer is a regular contributor to the Sidney Daily News.