Ron Krehbiel walked into the community room of the Harvey County Courthouse right before a news conference called by the Harvey County Health Department with something on his mind.
His steps were slow, and deliberate. He tried to smile, forcing a little bit of a chuckle as he prepared to speak.
He was there to tell local media this would be his final term as a county commissioner — his now 20-year career as a decision maker, followed by 25 years of service in the Sheriff’s Department, will come to an end this winter.
It took less than a minute to make the announcement.
“It’s official, I guess,” Krehbiel said. “... I have been here forever, and it has been good.”
He told The Kansan he didn’t really want to announce his retirement in the middle of the pandemic, as the pandemic has nothing to do with his decision. But, he chose this time to allow for possible candidates to get their paperwork together and meet June election filing deadlines.
Krehbiel grew up in Harvey County, playing high school football for Burrton. He went on to a 25-year career with the Sheriff’s Department before retiring. It was after that stint in law enforcement that he chose to run for the commission seat he holds — representing the western half of the county.
He told The Kansan his original intention was to serve three years. But those three years turned into 20.
“Yes, I am going to miss it,” Krehbiel said. “... But I am getting old. You gotta be tough to get old. I don’t think people care like they used to. I will miss the meetings.”
During his 20-year career, the commission has approved road construction and bridge projects. It has maintained three county parks, added buildings to West Park and provided for law enforcement. It has experimented with a gasifier to burn trash and worked to provide recycling services to county residents.
And Krehbeil has worked with individuals to deal with their issues.
“You have people call you and you go see them and they thank you,” Krehbiel said. “I have been lucky enough to have people tell me I have done a good job. I got complaints, and I have tried to straighten those things out.”
And, he says, during that 20 years the commission has helped the county employees — something that was a goal of his when he first ran for office.
“I wanted to do some stuff and to help the employees a little bit,” Krehbiel said.