It was announced at Monday’s City of Howe Planning & Zoning Commission meeting that longtime P&Z board member Jerry Park would be stepping down from his seat. Park is no stranger to volunteering for Howe. Back in the mid-1970s, the Howe Volunteer Fire Department put out a plea for additional members and Jerry Park was one of the ones to sign up to serve the community.
Park and his wife Joyce moved to Howe in August of 1964. He became employed with the US Postal Service the same week. He and his wife celebrated their 50th wedding anniversary in May of 2014.
The Howe Fire Department gives two scholarships each year to graduating Howe seniors and has done this for quite some time. After the retirement of Park and with his long tenure of service and dedication to the city, the department decided to name its annual scholarship after him.
“It’s an honor, I think they went further than they needed to,” Park said in a May 2014 interview with the Howe Enterprise. “It’s over and above what I thought was necessary but they did it anyway.”
Park was also a military man serving in the US Army from 1959-1962 and was stationed in Alaska. He actually received overseas pay for being in Alaska, even though Alaska became a state in 1959. He joined the Army as a 19-year-old because a friend of his called him and asked him to join him on the ‘buddy plan’ which meant they would go to basic training together. He was making fifty cents per hour working at a repair shop and thought that it wouldn’t be a bad idea to join.
“They guaranteed you schooling of your preference and at that time I always enjoyed watching the weather news on the TV. So I enlisted to go to that school for meteorology,” Park said in 2014. “My buddy that was going to go in with me failed his induction test, so he didn’t even go in with me. I wound up going anyway. I didn’t regret it. I wasn’t doing anything else productive at that time.”
Since that time, Park has been an overly-productive member of the Howe community by serving in nearly every volunteer capacity possible.
“He’s a unique individual and you can’t replace him,” said Howe City Councilman Bill French during Tuesday night’s council meeting. “No one can do it as good as Jerry did – at anything.”
Mayor Jeff Stanley appointed Lisa Tibbets to take his place on the P&Z which was eventually approved by the council.