Like any of us, he's had his moments, but on the whole, it was sad to see Ron Wetherell, long-time member of the Cherokee County Board of Supervisors, officially retire from the Board last week.
Wetherell, a Cleghorn businessman who built his family business from the ground up and has been astute enough to continually diversify and forge on undaunted through periodic tough economic times in Northwest Iowa, served Cherokee County 16 years as a Supervisor.
Throughout his four, four-year terms, Wetherell displayed thick skin, the courage of his convictions, and a willingness to be a team player even when he knew his "team" would be in the minority.
Through the years, the Chronicle Times, among others, has publicly disagreed with, confronted, and chastised Ron Wetherell as he participated in doing the business of the County. There is no doubt that we have even embarrassed and angered him in the past.
But, through it all, Ron Wetherell stood up to the charges and the challenges, met them head-on, made no excuses, and stayed the course he firmly believed in.
Because of his publicly unflappable demeanor, fueled by a fierce attention to detail and the ability to consistently keep his eyes on the bigger picture, Ron Wetherell will go down in history as one of the better Supervisors to ever man the position in this County.
When his time for leadership occurred, Wetherell was prepared and he led. When his time for persuasion occurred, Wetherell was prepared and he persuaded. When his time to do what was best for the County occurred, he was prepared and did what was best for the County.
On the occasions when we accompanied him to "Cherokee Day" at the Iowa State Legislature, Ron Wetherell spoke his piece to our legislators, would simply not accept faulty or deferred answers, and carried on his lapels what he thought to be the desires of his constituency. State legislators quickly learned that when he spoke, they had better listen, and then have a meaningful answer or he would be speaking again.
In our mind, a solid, knowledgeable, effective voice in local government, unafraid to adhere to the ultimate public service mantra of "Lead, follow, or get the hell out of the way," reigns supreme.
Ron Wetherell reigned supreme.
And through all the tough times we know so well, we are a better County today because men like Ron Wetherell stepped in and stepped up.