It was hard not to notice that Tuesday was Bill Cantrell Day in Porter.
A large banner proclaimed it across the town hall entrance, the town’s
website marked the occasion and town officials donned commemorative tee
Last night, the outgoing Porter Town Council member wore a gold medal around
his neck declaring him a “winner"; there was no disputing it as state and
county officials as well as town residents took turns thanking him for his
years of community service.
The formalities concluded with a standing ovation and a reception for the
veteran public servant and Democratic party volunteer.
Cantrell told the Chesterton Tribune, “When I read there would be a day for
me I said wow, I didn’t expect that; it totally surprised me. It did bring
tears to my eyes.”
During the brief council meeting, attended by more than 30 people in
addition to town officials, Cantrell said he was always mindful of John
Kennedy’s words, “Do not ask what your country can do for you; ask what you
can do for your country.” Added Cantrell, “I’ve tried to do that. I’ll miss
serving on the board, and the people of this town.”
Cantrell took office Jan. 1 representing Ward 1 but resigned effective July
1 due to health reasons. He will be moving to a residential facility in
Valparaiso where he said he plans to stay busy and help organize a
District 4 State Sen. Karen Tallian said she long has been involved in
Porter County politics and Cantrell is among the people who have always been
there, not for himself but for everybody else’s campaign or fundraiser. In
appreciation of his civic contributions, she said Cantrell will be receiving
a flag from the Indiana Capitol and a proclamation honoring his years of
Jeff Chidester, Porter County Democratic chairman, conveyed best wishes from
U.S. Cong. Pete Visclosky and gifted Cantrell with a flag that flew over the
U.S. Capitol. Chidester told Cantrell, “You are an example to public service
and a lot of people owe you a debt of gratitude, including myself.”
At-Large Porter County Council member Sylvia Graham said she came to honor
Cantrell, who’s been a help to her from the beginning with wise advice.
“Thank you for everything you’ve done.”
In addition to the Porter council and Stormwater Management Board, resident
Jennifer Klug cited Cantrell’s service on the Union Township School Board,
Westchester Township Advisory Board and Porter County TRIAD, a senior
networking organization, as well as to the Democratic Party.
“The measure of a person’s greatness is never what they do for themselves;
it’s what they do for the world around them. Your service will be greatly
missed,” said Klug.
She recalled Cantrell’s campaign goals for Porter seeking People first,
Openness, Respect, Truth, Efficiency and Reform as something to live by; she
also urged the council to implement Cantrell’s prior suggestion that the
town start a grant program to help local Porter businesses that are not now
accessible to the handicapped become so.
Town Council president Greg Stinson gifted Cantrell with two plaques given
in appreciation of his service and dedication to Porter. Stinson said he
will continue to seek out Cantrell’s advice.
Council members Rob Pomeroy and Jeannine Athens offered best wishes, as did
Clerk-treasurer Carol Pomeroy. Fellow Democrat Elka Nelson told Cantrell,
“You never warned me it would be more fun campaigning with you than it is
being on the council.”
Porter County Democratic Voter Registration director Kathy Kozuszek said a
caucus will take place July 12 to choose Cantrell’s successor to serve out
the remainder of his four-year term. He said he is making no endorsement at
Candidates must live within Porter’s Ward 1 and file a notice of candidacy
at least 72 hours before the July 12 caucus with party secretary Deborah
Cook, P.O. Box 432, Valparaiso IN 46384.