“I didn’t know I was that good,” Jack Bishop joked in recalling his learning that he was to be honored by the Wayne County Commissioners.
Representatives from area service veterans’ organization packed the commissioners’ meeting room on July 25 as Bishop, accompanied by his wife, Mary Jo Bishop, accepted a Certificate of Recognition and Distinguished Service.
A Vietnam veteran with 101st Airborne, Bishop spent the last 12 years in various employment and outreach activities for the Pennsylvania Department of Labor and Industry. There, his certificate reads, “he worked tirelessly to encourage and serve his fellow veterans and the general public with employment opportunities in both Wayne and Pike counties.”
This work came after Bishop spent 31 years in primary education, serving as principal of the Lourdesmont School in Clarks Summit and as a special education teacher with the Northeastern Intermediate Unit #19 in the Wayne Highlands School District.
Commissioner Jonathan Fritz, who as a student remembered Bishop the educator, said Bishop was a “wonderful advocate for veterans, 4,500 of whom are an integral part of the county. They are hardworking, sometimes insular people, who need somebody for them. You’ve had a magnificent career,” he told Bishop.
Chairman Brian Smith agreed, saying, “I hate to see you go. You’ve helped so many people. I wish we could retain your knowledge.”
Commissioner Wendell Kay spoke of his years of acquaintance with Jack and Mary Jo through his work and their church. “Their dedication to the community has extended far beyond their lives and to the community; people here today and many more who couldn’t pack into the back of the room.”
In departing, Bishop said the best part of the job had been that he’d “met a lot of great people in Wayne and Pike counties.” He thanked the commissioners and implored them to press for a replacement for his position.
In other business, the commissioners accepted a state grant of $742,533, which was a $130,000 reduction from last year’s mental health funding. Wayne County Human Services Director Andrea Whyte explained that resulted from 18 to 25 clients formerly using services in southern Wayne being transferred to a program in Carbondale.
Kay said the commissioners also were “very pleased,” after a quarterly telephone conference report from financial consultants at C.S. McKee, who reported a 13% increase in the county’s retirement fund account.
The board also approved a $182,000 contract with Whelan Properties LLC, to replace the courthouse roof, rejected a $482,000 bid from Grimm Construction for a proposed elevator project and authorized re-bid of the project.