Former Trustee, Richard A Stevenson, Sr., passed from this life on December 6, exactly three years after announcing his retirement from the Wayne Township Trustee Office in 2019. First elected in 2006, Trustee Stevenson went on to win three more terms, serving a historic thirteen years as the leader of one of the most populous townships in the state of Indiana.
Mr. Stevenson began serving as township trustee in 2007, providing emergency financial assistance to needy Wayne Township residents. This was just before the 2008-2009 Great Recession, the most significant economic downturn since the 1929 Depression. High unemployment brought a record number of families to the township office, many who had to ask for assistance for the first time in their lives, and as demand went up resources became tight. New property tax caps meant that less money was available to provide desperately needed assistance. But Stevenson was prepared for this difficult balancing act. He would often talk to his staff about growing up himself during difficult financial times, “Our parents always made sure we children were fed, but sometimes the peanut butter had to be spread pretty thin.”
Along with his duties managing township assistance, Mr. Stevenson went over and above to help the youth in the community. In 2012 he established the Recognizing Achievement Scholarship for graduating high school seniors going on to higher education, and a few years later he started the Academic Encouragement Award for students from kindergarten to the 11th grade. These and other programs expressed his belief in the value of education for the life-long success of young people. Trustee Stevenson also established an annual holiday event for the community providing entertainment and gifts “for those who might have financial difficulties providing for their families during the holidays.”
In 2020, the board of the Wayne Township Trustee Office approved a resolution to change the name of the annual Recognizing Achievement Scholarship to the Richard A. Stevenson Scholarship and to designate the thoroughfare surrounding our office the “Stevenson Way,” so that when employees see the signs they are reminded to always be of service to others.
In the board’s resolution it was noted that Mr. Stevenson “worked to make Wayne Township a better place by giving a hand up to those in need and making sure taxpayer dollars were spent responsibly.” He “worked on behalf of the community to address issues of homelessness” providing a food pantry, clothing emporium, jobs programs and much more.
Trustee Stevenson was always a champion of the Waynedale community. As he wrote in one of his regular Waynedale News columns, “I carry with me fond memories of all the wonderful people I met at the annual Waynedale Parade, the Waynedale picnics, the annual Taste of Waynedale and of working with citizens Billie Rykard and Karen Walker to help save the Waynedale post office.
We at the Wayne Township Trustee Office will carry our own fond memories of Trustee Richard Stevenson and the many lessons we learned from him about helping, caring for and respecting our fellow man.
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