BATAVIA, Ohio -- After nearly three decades of public service, Clermont County Commissioner Bob Proud hung up his hat Wednesday.
With his son, Michael, on his lap, Proud thanked colleagues for making him look good during his 28-year career in public service and offered this advice: Resist the urge to divide the people in your life along party lines and offer equal empathy to everyone you meet.
"Don’t ever see a Republican," he said. "Don’t ever see a Democrat. See a person. You do that, keep that in mind, and you’ll be successful whether you’re elected or appointed."
Projects like the former Ford transmission plant’s conversion into a mixed-use development have helped Clermont County’s economy grow under Proud, but he said his most cherished accomplisments are the things he did to support his county’s military families.
Proud, himself a child of military parents, worked to comfort the 12 Clermont County families who lost members in the Gulf Wars and Afghanistan. He also founded the Whole In My Heart support group for people with loved ones in the armed forces.
"There will be people in the group who will tell you that it saved their lives," he said. "That they could never have made it through the deployment."
As he closed his final meeting, Proud recalled advice from his mother: His name could go further than he ever could.
"I hope, too, that when people hear the name Proud, they will associate that with integrity and honesty," he said.