02/25/11 Surrounded by family, friends, and colleagues Saturday in the small community room of the LaPaz-North Township Volunteer Fire Department building Elma Konya received a hero’s applause when she rose to her feet and reflected on the guiding principle she has used to serve the North Township community over the last 40 years as trustee.
“I lived through the Depression. I knew what it was like to be hungry, to not have a roof over your head, to be without heat. You care for each other,” she said.
Konya, who will be 90 this year, lost in her reelection bid for North Township Trustee last November after having served in that office first as deputy assessor between 1962 and 1970, then as trustee since 1970; a combined service of nearly 50 years to the people of North Township.
In 2001 a Sagamore of the Wabash was bestowed upon Konya for her years of service by Governor Frank O’Bannon.
Mark Gidley and Kurt Garner, a great nephew of Konya, planned the small reception. Gidley commented that they believed strongly in the value of service to the community and thought something should be done to recognize Konya. Garner remarked that, “It seems some have lost what it truly means to be a public servant, but not Elma.”
Fred Webster, former Center Township Trustee, said, “On behalf of all of the trustees who have served with you over the years, thank you.”
LaPaz Town Clerk Jane Harris also commended Konya for working so well together with the Town of LaPaz.
Congressman Joe Donnelly was on hand to offer words of appreciation to Konya and said, “You are the inspiration to what the fabric of this great nation is made of… to quietly serve your neighbors and friends.”
Konya was then visibly shaken as she wiped tears from her eyes when Donnelly read a letter congratulating and thanking her for her many years of service, and best wishes from President Barack Obama.
Officers from the LaPaz American Legion read a proclamation thanking her for her service over the years, including the purchase of American flags.
They then saluted Konya after presenting her with a folded flag.
Provided by Kurt Garner