By DL PERRIN
LAGRANGE — At the opening meeting of the LaGrange County Commissioners meeting on Jan. 7, former president, George Bachman sat in the audience and watched Jac Price become the new president of the Commissioners. After the meeting he congratulated Price.
“I intend to come to as many meetings as I can to keep abreast of what is going on in my community,” Bachman said. “I wanted to be sure to attend the first one, in case there were any questions I might be able to answer.” Anyone who knows Bachman knows full well he will keep his fingers in the pie as long as it is humanly possible.
Twenty-five years ago he and his wife Carol moved to Shipshewana from Elkhart. Even though he hasn’t lived there for many years he is still participating in many of the fund raising events he worked on when he lived there.
Bachman was co-founder of the Great Race in Elkhart, serving twenty-five years as board member. He helped to raise $2.5 million for local charities.
During the time he spent on the board of directors of the Elkhart YMCA, he helped to form the Y’s Run Club. Once a week, he drives over to read to Elkhart elementary students. One common thread, running through the public’s opinion of George Bachman, is his dedication to the job, whatever it is.
“No one works harder than George Bachman,” said former councilman Fred Brown. “He attended not only the committee meetings he was assigned to, he also went to many others just so he could learn what they were doing and how he could help.” Brown also said if George did not have a full consensus to accomplish something he would drop it and go on to tackle some other issue that everyone could get behind and get results.
“I tried never to be selfish about issues that I wanted to see come to pass,” said Bachman. “You have to listen to all sides. If I found myself alone in my opinion, then I would re-think it or drop it. There are plenty of good things government can do. It is a waste of time and energy to get possessive with one’s pet projects. You have to work on things you can get done as a team. You won’t be successful in office if you have a singular agenda.”
Commissioner Garry Heller said,” Serving with George the last two years as a County Commissioner has been rewarding and educational. He is a man who really cares and worked hard for 14 years in county government sharing his ideas not only on county items but also state and federal issues. He would always look at everyone’s ideas and end up doing what was best for the county. Working with George was a great learning experience.”
Bachman’s many years as a manager, business owner and politician, taught him a valuable lesson. “When there is a problem at work or within a group don’t look around to find something or someone to blame. You need to look inside yourself and start fixing it there.”
George has a long list of people he wanted to thank for working with him over the years. He was a member of so many committees, boards, charities and commissions, (and still is) there would not be enough room for the long list he provided. Temporarily out of politics he now works at his BP convenience store on U.S. 20 in Shipshewana with his two grandsons, Kyle and Jarrod Lutrelle.
When he thinks back to the best day in public service he says it was the day the county completed the industrial park north of Howe. He becomes emotional when he recalls the worst day in office as the day his friend and fellow council member, Roger Boots passed away.