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SHELBYVILLE - A packed house turned out recently for a retirement luncheon for Sen. Gary Tapp at Claudia Sanders Dinner House.
Speakers included city and county officials and others who talked about Tapp’s commitment to his community, his dedication and some of the many projects he has helped bring to fruition.
Marshall Long, former Shelbyville mayor, state representative and state senator, spoke of Tapp’s fairness in Frankfort.
“Well, as the token Democrat here, I just want to say that out of all the people I’ve met, I’ve never heard anybody say that they didn’t get a fair hearing before his committee,” he said.
State Rep. Brad Montell (R-Shelbyville) also told the crowd of more than 200 how much he would miss Tapp.
“On Jan. 1, my job just got a whole lot harder, because I have lost my partner in Frankfort,” he said.
Montell, who said he got to know Tapp when serving as his campaign treasurer, said Tapp “went into the whole political thing for all the right reasons.”
“He had begun to see that he could make a difference—I am really going to miss him. Paul [Hornback] is a good man, but Gary will be hard to replace.”
Mayor Tom Hardesty said, “The people of Shelbyville can’t even begin to know how many ways he has helped to improve their lives.”
Shelby County Judge Rob Rothenburger agreed.
“If it had not been for Gary, we probably wouldn’t have gotten Walgreens,
and the Shelbyville Bypass, well, Gary’s leadership played a big role there, too. So many projects, he has set in motion.”
Bobby Hudson, president of the Shelby County Industrial and Development Corporation, talked about working hand in hand with Tapp on many to promote economic development in the county, while Parks and Recreation Director Clay Cottongim spoke of his invaluable help to him.“Gary has really helped the parks out a lot over the years,” he said. “When it came to supporting us, Gary was always there, helping us to get grants for many things, just like for example, getting lights for the softball
field,” he said.
Cottongim presented Tapp with a plaque expressing appreciation from Parks and Rec, to go along with one he also received from the House of
Representatives thanking him for his outstanding public service and wishing him well.
Several people from the audience also got up and spoke informally about what Tapp meant to them, including Republican Party Chairman for Shelby County, Jennifer Decker, who said Tapp conducted his career in an ethical and Christian way, and that “It was an honor to have known him and to have worked with him.”
Lauren Just, owner of Persimmon Ridge, talked about his honesty.
“He always told me what he thought, and I appreciated that.”
After everyone spoke, Tapp addressed the crowd with a short, but emotional speech.
“I feel very humbled and emotional, but I just want to say that I couldn’t
have done it without my family, and especially Beverly,” he said,” with a
warm smile at his wife.
“And Brad, you’ve been a joy to work with,” he said.