When it came time to hold its annual Spring dinner, it was only natural that the Carbon County Democratic Party would recognize 34 years of service of retired Commissioner Charles Getz.
Getz retired at the outset of 2011, ending a career of public service that included 18 years as a Kidder Township supervisor and the past 16 years as a Carbon County Commissioner.
"He was not only a great commissioner, but he is a great friend," said Billy O'Gurek Jr., chairman of the party who presented the Albrightsville resident a plaque that appropriately noted Getz "made a difference in the lives of Carbon County residents."
Several county officials, State Sen. John Yudichak and the members of the party's Fall slate of candidates took turns praising the commissioner. William O'Gurek Sr., Getz's colleague for the past eight years, was the master of ceremonies for the event held Sunday afternoon at the Mahoning Valley Ambulance Building.
Recorder of Deeds Emmett McCall, recalling a former local bank's "People Helping People" motto, said that best described Getz's career. McCall noted, "That's what Charlie Getz is all about. He always gave, some that people don't even know about, but he cares so much about people. If we were all like Charlie, it would be a great world."
Controller Robert Crampsie reeled off adjectives that describe the commissioner, saying, "He's a gentleman, as honest as the day is long, a great friend, he stands for service, and he's a man of integrity."
Yudichak, who represents the 14th Senatorial District, said, "Charlie made a very indelible impression on me when I first met him. he is such a pleasure to know."
The senator added, "He (Getz) is a banker, a public servant, a philanthropist and a farmer. All of us in this room know you don't get that lucky in life to be one or two of those things, but Charlie is all of them, and he does things so well that he leaves a remarkable legacy."
Congratulatory wishes from U.S. Sen. Robert P. Casey and Atty. Michael Ozalas, former county solicitor, who were unable to attend, followed. McCall read Casey's letter, which told Getz, "You are held in high regard by your colleagues and the community. Carbon County is a better place to live and work because of your service."
The former solicitor pointed out, "History will well document the long and distinguished career of public service you provided the people of Kidder Township and Carbon County. You have made a remarkable contribution to county government by your commitment to providing services, yet not raising taxes. The list of accomplishments Carbon County experienced during your tenure is a testimony to the great business approach you brought to office."
While speakers stressed the county "was lucky" to have the benefit of Getz's services in office for four terms, the former commissioner said he "who was the one that was lucky."
He said, "That's exactly what I was, starting with being fortunate to have great, hard-working parents. They taught me respect. They taught me to always look up to people who are older than you."
Getz added, "It (16 years) went by so fast, but I enjoyed it. But it is time for me to move on."
He furthered, "Thank God I retired, because my wife (Carol) has health issues and she needs help. And I am going to help her."
Getz said he career was only made possible through the "support of so many people," for which he expressed his appreciation. "I truly appreciate the support of everyone through the years," he said.
Pointing out he is also in the transportation business, Getz said, "My employees are so dedicated it is unbelievable. I was able to do my job because of them and I appreciate them."
Also speaking were the party's nominees for elective offices in November, including Kathleen Kane, candidate for attorney general; Gene Stilp, candidate for the 11th Congressional District; Mike Szustak, representing Matt Cartwright, candidate for the 17th Congressional District; Tim Seip, candidate for the 29th Senatorial District; and Ronald Rabenold, candidate for the 122nd Legislative District.