Miami County Commissioner George Pretz is going to miss his weekly chocolate treat.
Since the Wednesday commission study session typically lasts until noon, and the regular weekly meeting begins at 1 p.m., the commissioners have made it a tradition to eat lunch together in between.
Pretz usually sat across the table from fellow Commissioner Ron Stiles, and the pair shared jokes, stories and sometimes even their food.
“He always shared his Hershey bar at lunch with me,” Pretz said during a retirement celebration for Stiles after the Wednesday, Jan. 9, commission meeting.
The meeting was the last for Stiles, who has served on the commission for 14 years but decided not to run for reelection last November. Voters elected Tyler Vaughan, who will now take over the job of representing District 4, which includes the Spring Hill and Hillsdale areas.
Pretz said he and Stiles came on the commission together 14 years ago, and he’s proud that one of the first things they did was hire Miami County Administrator Shane Krull.
“Our first decision was one of our best,” Pretz said.
He applauded Stiles for representing his constituents well, and he said Stiles always did a great job of listening and reviewing the facts.
“The man should have been a lawyer,” Pretz said. “He’s taken a lot of depositions from department heads and citizens.”
Commissioners Danny Gallagher and Rob Roberts both said they respect Stiles’ open expression of his Christian faith and his passion for the new ministry program taking place at the Miami County Detention Center.
Stiles quoted scripture during his brief speech, saying that the book of James talks about how when troubles come our way, it can be an opportunity for great joy. He also mentioned how King Solomon in the Book of Ecclesiastes talks about seasons of change.
Stiles thanked his fellow commissioners for working well together, even when their opinions differed.
“I’m so fortunate to be part of a group that discusses all sides and at the end of the day can make a decision and walk away,” Stiles said.
He also thanked county staff members and everyone else who has helped him along the way.
“I’m so humbled by all the support,” he said.
The celebrations for Stiles weren’t through after the meeting. He also was honored during the Jan. 10 Spring Hill City Council meeting.
There, he and his wife, Connie, were presented with a proclamation declaring the month of January as “Ron and Connie Stiles Faith in Action Month.” Ron also was presented with a city of Spring Hill flag for his former service as a city councilman from 1988 to 1990.