Eugene C. “Gene” Potter was named 2013 LaGrange County Citizen of the Year on Wednesday during Corn School.
Bill Eberhard made the announcement.
“For as long as almost anyone can remember, this year’s Citizen of the Year winner has been an active participant in the community of LaGrange. As a father, teacher, club member and community leader, he has made LaGrange, and the people of LaGrange, his special project,” Eberhard said. “During World War II, our recipient served his country in the Pacific Theater. As a young Marine, he even met Chiang Kai-Shek, the president of the Republic of China. His Marine training served him well as he sought to instill patriotic spirit and pride in hundreds of students who attended his classes over his 37 years in public education.”
“For years he represented the Lakeland School Corporation in the Indiana State Teachers Association, and as a member of the National Education Association. More than his dedication to his fellow teachers was his commitment to his students. From the classroom to the football field to the aspiring drivers he taught in driver’s education, he not only taught but guided and mentored the community’s youth. Recently, when the original Lakeland Laker Football team was honored at a varsity game, our recipient was recognized as one of the coaches of that first group to don the Columbia blue and red of Laker football,” Eberhard continued.
“His efforts on behalf of the community’s youth continued all through his teaching career, and into his retirement years. As the youngest of eight children, he well understood that youngsters often had to fend for themselves in the hectic lives of large families and he remained cognizant of the special struggles of youngsters in today’s society,” Eberhard added.
“A member of the Free and Accepted Masonic Lodge as well as the Eastern Star, he earned his 32nd degree while joining his Masonic brothers and Eastern Star members in many charitable efforts and worthwhile endeavors. Along with his late wife Jane, to whom he was married for 62 years, our honoree was active in political and civic affairs – she in county government, and he as a member of the LaGrange Town Board for over 20 years. Both donated a multitude of hours as election board members and pollworkers in election after election. As he acquired countless items during his attendance at auctions and garage sales over the years, our recipient likewise collected hundreds of friends and acquaintances who appreciate his efforts for his community. For all of the above reasons, the LaGrange County Corn School Committee is pleased to present the 2013 LaGrange County Citizen of the Year award to Eugene C. “Gene” Potter,” Eberhard concluded.
Potter was stunned by the award and didn’t know what was going on until his name was announced. “Surprised?” Potter said when asked about the award. “I was very surprised.”
“I hope the people appreciate that I appreciate it,” Potter said.
Potter was joined by his son Tom and daughter Jeanne for the award presentation at the courthouse gazebo.