VERSAILLES — Randy Gump, Versailles’ soon-to-be-retired village administrator, was the honored guest at an open house held Wednesday afternoon and evening in the Riviera Room at Stillwater Valley Golf Course.
Versailles Area Chamber of Commerce set up the reception to honor Gump on his 35 years of service to the village, and a constant flow of people dropped by from 4 to 7 p.m. to wish him well in his endeavors.
“Randy has always been the eternal optimist,” remarked Versailles Mayor Jeff A. Subler. “He looks at the great and worst situations and says how to make the world better. He always has a positive outlook. I’m the last council person involved when we hired him. We worked on projects together for years. He’d always get details and see the big picture, too. He was great to work with. Everything I ever asked for him to do, he did it. We’d go back and forth with ideas. I hate to see him go with all the success he’s had. People don’t realize what all he’s accomplished. We had a good relationship. Our personalities click. It was a great ride with him.”
Subler went on to say that it has been a “really great” transition time with both Gump and his successor, Rodd Hale.
“I feel like Rodd has the same positive outlook,” Subler concluded.
“He’s a fantastic guy,” Hale said. “I appreciate everything he has done for me. He’s taken me under his wings and mentored me. We’ve become very good friends, and I wish him the best.”
Carla Hummel, who was already working for the village when Gump came on board, described Gump as driven and tenacious.
“He likes the town, and he likes the people,” she said.
“He is dedicated to the village of Versailles,” commented Tom Guillozet, Versailles’ law director. “He’s tenacious. He looks at the big picture to get what’s best for all. He puts himself on the line to do that. That’s what’s made him a great leader over the years.”
Larry Prenger, businessman and husband of Gump’s godmother, Diane Prenger, had this to say about the honoree: “Randy is a good person. He did what was right. We worked on a lot of projects together when Diane did the developments at Heritage Park.”
“He was very exciting,” Carl “Mo” Moorman said. “I’ve been a member of the tree commission from word go with George and Bud Treon and Rodney Martino. There was always a project. Randy was easy to work with. I couldn’t have worked for a better person. He was always on top of things and very well organized.”
“It’s been a great experience,” commented Bob Frey, Versailles’ fire chief for the past 17 years. “Our new building was a challenge, but it was very rewarding and working with Randy and council was rewarding.”
A long-time co-worker of Gump’s, Ralph Gigandet, who retired five years ago, attended the open house and said he and Gump taught each other the ropes.
“He’s a good guy,” Gigandet said. “He started after I did on then line crew when I was on the street department. He moved to the waste water treatment plant, then I moved there when he was moved up to utilities superintendent, and I followed him through.”
“It was always a pleasure to work with Randy,” said Jim Poeppelman, businessman and lifetime resident of Versailles. “He had an upbeat mood and positive attitude. He set aside his own personal interests for the village. We’re going to miss him, and I am wishing him the best.”
“He was the best thing to my sister, Brittany, and me, after he and Mom were married,” said Stacey Reed, daughter of Gump’s wife, Mary Ann. “He was always extremely busy, but he went to every event we were in and drove us to every practice we needed to go to. He played the No. 1 dad role, and I appreciate him for that. He was the best dad.”
Sister Brittany added, “He was always a very hard worker. If we needed help, he’d help. He’s very good at his job. He’s ready for a new venture in his life.”
“I’m very humbled by this event the Chamber, village council and mayor put on tonight,” Gump said. “There are lot of things that happened in 35 years. It’s a privilege to be part of the community that knows how to get things accomplished. This is paramount to any other place I’ve been. It was a privilege to be part of the changes. There are a lot more opportunities, and I hope to confront them.”
One of the highlights of the evening was when two AMP-Ohio representatives, Chris Deeter and Senior Vice President Mike Perry, presented Gump with an Ohio Municipal Electric Association (OMEA) honorary membership.
“Randy was a great advocate for public power and was always a Seven-Hats award winner as well as national. He served on our board of trustees,” Perry said.
In accepting the award, Gump stated, “I don’t like the spotlight. I have a lot of memories and would do it all again. I can’t think of a better community to be in. This community can go to higher levels. I’ve been on a solid foundation for 35 years. It’s been a great ride.”