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Supervisor to step down in January

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Marilyn Forbes | For The Independent-Observer
Long-time East Huntingdon Township Supervisor Howard Keefer will be retiring from the position in January.
Wednesday, June 26, 2013, 9:00 p.m.

East Huntingdon Township residents will be losing one of their dedicated supervisors in January, when longtime Supervisor Howard Keefer punches the township clock for his final time.

After thought and consideration, Keefer said that although he did file his petition to appear on the ballot for the primary election, he decided not to run.

“I was having some slight issues with my health,” Keefer said. “My doctor advised me that it would be a good idea to have less stress in my life.”

Keefer of Tarrs has been a township employee since 1974, taking a job as a truck driver at the offer of then-supervisor, Don Potoka, working in that capacity until he saw his chance for advancement.

“I was first hired as a truck driver, and I did that for 10 years,” Keefer said. “There was then an opening for supervisor, and that started my career as a supervisor, and I've been one now for 30 years.”

Keefer said he has seen changes in East Huntingdon over the decades, such as now having most of the 68 miles of township roads paved and also has witnessed growth through the many businesses that have now found their home in East Huntingdon Township.

“There has been a lot of new businesses coming in on both sides of the road out by Sony, and that has really helped us to not raise taxes,” Keefer said. “Taxes have not been raised the entire time I have been supervisor.”

Keefer said he is proud to have worked with his fellow supervisors, Paul Hodgkiss and Joel Suter, and the three have made a great team over the years.

“I've known both of them for a long time,” Keefer said. “The three of us work well together, and that is how we have been able to get so much done.”

Hodgkiss said he will be sorry to see Keefer leave in January and will miss their friendship and working relationship.

“It has been a pleasure working with Dink all these years,” Hodgkiss said, referring to the nickname that Keefer is known by to many. “I've worked for 40 (years) with him, and we have been through a lot over the years.”

The supervisors said they have had their ups and downs over the years but always managed to pull through and work toward the betterment of the township and its residents.

“We have worked well together, and that is the only way to get anything done, but we have also not seen eye to eye on things,” Hodgkiss said. “We always worked it out and came to a solution.”

Keefer said he will now take some time to relax, possibly travel a bit with wife Linda and generally take it easy.

“It's going to be different,” Keefer said. “I have never had a winter off in my life, so that will be a change for me, and not a bad one.”

Marilyn Forbes is a freelance writer.

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