Ron Verboom was so touched by the tributes he received at his last Village of Radium Hot Springs council meeting on Wednesday, October 24th that he said he was feeling “pretty tempted to run again.”
Mr. Verboom has served on council for 25 years. He has been sitting at the table for every term except one since 1990 when the village decided to separate from the Regional District of East Kootenay in order to run itself.
“We were just a bunch of teenagers, young kids really, trying to run a town,” he joked about the first council, adding that Phyllis Jackson kept the younger men in order.
Ms. Jackson begged to differ as she and other former council members who served with Mr. Verboom stood to praise him for his efforts and accomplishments.
“You could always be counted on as a level head,” she said.
Dee Conklin, one of Radium’s former mayors, said Mr. Verboom was an advocate for seniors and for the library and that it was a pleasure to work alongside him.
Current mayor Clara Reinhardt said she always felt like Mr. Verboom had her back and supported her in her leadership role.
“I occasionally felt almost like I had a cheerleader,” she said. “Ron has been a guide. He’s got the history. He’s got a conscience.”
Mr. Verboom said he “figured infrastructure was numero uno” and is proud of the village’s water and sewer systems and other community assets that have helped the community grow.
Ms. Reinhardt read a statement on behalf of Greg Deck, the village’s first mayor, where Mr. Deck said “few are as well regarded” as the retiring councillor and highlighted Mr. Verboom’s tendency for being “quick to spread the credit for success as widely as possible.”
True to form, Mr. Verboom showered others with praise.
“We’ve been so successful in large regard to our staff,” he said. “It’s really been an honour. We had great councils, great council people… It’s been a great 25 years, and I’m going to miss it.”