Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

Dan Wehmer - Publisher's Pen

It seems like I’ve known Tommy Claxton forever.

When I came to Seymour a quarter-century ago, he was volunteering in the community, despite being a high-school student.

Those efforts grew as the years passed.

He joined the Seymour Lions Club.

He became an active member of the Seymour Merchants’ Association.

He took on numerous roles with the annual Seymour Apple Festival.

He was a charter board member for the Seymour Area Arts Council.

He’s been the chairman of the council’s art and photography shows.

He served as the festival’s co-chairman.

Frankly, a list of Tommy Claxton’s community contributions could go on for pages.

I could rally elected local, county and even state officeholders and add a lengthy list of folks who have solicited Tommy’s political support for the past two decades. He’s a grinder, willing to take on the tough tasks, whether it be walking the streets for a candidate or peddling raffle tickets for the festival.

Point is, Tommy’s a solid community servant.

If there’s a meeting and he’s a member, he’s there.

If there’s an event and he’s involved, he’s working.

At month’s end, Tommy Claxton is leaving Seymour.

Last year, his dad, Russell, passed away.

Tommy and his mom, Linda, listed the family’s home and land east of town for sale, and it recently sold.

They are moving to the county seat of Marshfield to be closer to family members there and for the convenience of handy housing that meets their needs.

Last Friday, Tommy said farewell to me and fellow members of the Seymour Area Arts Council at our monthly board meeting. As he read his goodbye, there weren’t many dry eyes, if any, in the room. When the council began 19 years ago in 2001, Tommy asked its founder, Lee Binley, if he could be a board member.

Lee obliged.

And Tommy’s been a workhorse ever since — the board’s longest-tenured member as the group has grown from operating a pair of art and photo shows to renovating and running the historic Owen Theatre to great success.

He’s the guy at the ticket booth when you visit the Owen.

He’ll be missed there.

He’ll be missed everywhere in Seymour.

There are few people who simply are known by a single name. When that name is said, everyone knows who you are talking about.

That’s Tommy in Seymour.

Everyone knows him.

Everyone will miss him.

* * * * * *

Reading time, two minutes:

• Free Congress.

Regardless of your political affiliation, this nonsense in simply approving an economic-stimulus package at the federal level is nothing short of dysfunctional.

After a week of work, a simple bill can’t get out of the U.S. Senate. If and when it does, good luck on it gaining timely passage in the U.S. House of Representatives.

I’m convinced both major parties are a problem.

I’m also convinced few officeholders at the federal and state levels truly have our interests at heart, whether Democrat or Republican.

What we primarily have are career politicians.

Once washed up there, they reemerge as lobbyists, akin to a hyena or jackal.

There’s little doubt our elected officeholders at the state and national levels will struggle with the economic recession or depression that’s looming in our future.

They’ll still be suckling the teat of government.

And it shows.

• Kudos to the Seymour Life Church for its efforts over the past week, providing food to all school-age children on a daily basis at the Seymour Safe Room.

Those efforts change locations today (Wednesday), but the cause continues at the Seymour FFA’s greenhouse behind the high school.

A week’s worth of food will be given from 2 to 5 p.m. today to any school-age children under 18. Each week, the school will continue this effort on Mondays, Wednesdays and Friday in front of the middle school.

Superintendent Steve Richards from the Seymour R-II School District said the district’s Care To Learn program will join the effort with its resources.

Should the COVID-19 crisis continue into April, he said the school will kick start other operations to make sure all school-age children have plenty to eat, even if it means finding a way to operate school cafeterias in some unique way.

“As a school district, we realize our role in Seymour in caring for our kids,” Richards said.

“And we’re prepared to think outside of the box to make sure our children aren’t hungry. The same is true with education.

Again, we’ll get creative in terms of facilitating a means and method for learning should this crisis continue long term.”

For now, the Citizen office remains open and will stay that way until health concerns say otherwise.

If you’ve got local news that needs shared, please share it with us, and we’ll share it with our readers, both in print and electronic formats.

If you’ve got questions, call the office.

At this point, there are no dumb questions.

We’ll do our best to answer them.

Dan Wehmer is the Citizen’s editor, publisher and owner. He can be reached at 417-935-2257 or via e-mail at citizen@webstercountycitizen.com.

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