In 1994, Terryl Walster was already serving in village government in Maeystown when he was appointed as mayor.
The position was not one he aspired to have but one he thought he should take for the good of the community.
“Somebody had to do it,” said Walster, who moved to Maeystown in 1987.
“It’s one of those things that you certainly don’t do for the pay. If people don’t pick up the reins and go with it, the town’s just going to die.”
Walster kept holding those reins for 25 years as mayor, never facing any opposition for a job that pays $160 a month. He is now stepping down after 30 years in Maeystown’s government.
Walster singled out the town’s two major water projects and sewer project as accomplishments during his tenure.
He said those jobs were especially difficult given the small tax base available to the village of about 150 residents.
“We’re a small community, but we still have the same needs, basically, as the big communities, and we still have the same rules that we have to follow,” Walster explained. “For us, getting money together for projects is a much bigger deal.”
Walster, who owned a home remodeling business before selling it two years ago, said his tenure as mayor was easy thanks in large part to the village board.
“I can’t say enough about the board we have,” he said. “They follow through, they come through with results, they’re easy to work with and that makes my job very, very simple.”
Nevertheless, Walster decided it was time for him to retire for a few reasons.
“I’m 70 years old,” he said. “I’m retiring from full-time employment. I’ve got some things I’d like to do. And I think after 25 years, it’s time for some new blood to come into place and put their ideas into action.”
That new blood will be in the form of John Valentine, who ran unopposed in the April 2 election.
Valentine is a 41-year-old operating engineer who works with construction equipment.
He said he decided to take over for Walster for similar reasons as to why Walster started.
“I thought somebody needed to do it and there wasn’t anybody else stepping up,” Valentine said.
As mayor, Valentine said he has broad goals.
“I want to just do what we can to make the town better,” he said. “I know we’re going to need to update our sewer plant, so we’ll start working on that.”
Valentine went on to say he looks forward to “just serving (his) community” as mayor.
Walster said he thinks Valentine will be fine in that role, though he said he is happy to provide any advice the younger man needs along the way.
When he is not doing that, Walster plans to do a variety of things to stay busy.
“I will certainly be doing something, but it’s not going to be on an everyday basis,” he said. “I enjoy fishing and some other stuff. I won’t be able to stop working. I’ll probably still do some odd jobs and stuff like that.”