Serving you: Williamstown councilman keeps busy

Gene Duncan says he is busier now than when he retired 15 years ago from his job as a truck driver for a Cincinnati-based chemical company, and that’s not an exaggeration. The first-term Williamstown councilman busies himself with volunteer activities and the Lions Club when he is not serving in his public capacity, and is one of five to receive the Pride of Williamstown award for his volunteer efforts.

Question: What was your occupation and when did you retire?

Answer: I retired in 1998 from Chem Central Corp. in Cincinnati where I was a truck driver. I’m originally from Kentucky but I have lived here since I retired because my wife is from here.

Q: Why did you decide to get involved in city council and on what committees do you serve?

A: I got involved with the city by being appointed building commissioner by Mayor Jean Ford. I had done some construction work around town before that and I also worked for Habitat For Humanity. I was city building commissioner for six years before I was on council. They needed someone to fill a spot on council and nobody stepped up. I told them if no one else would do it, to let me know and I would do it. I’m glad I did. It’s really interesting. I serve as a council rep on the planning commission and am in charge of water.

Q: I understand that you do a lot more for your community than serving on council. In what ways do you volunteer?

A: Well, I hate to list everything because there are just so many others who give their time. There are always a lot of people involved who put in hundreds of hours. We built the shelter at the (Healthy Lifestyles) swimming pool and at Armstrong Park; worked with the Lions Club on the bathroom; built a storage building at the pool and for the chlorine tank.

Q: Why do you feel it is important to give of your time in this way?

A: Well it’s what everybody says, but you feel like you need to do something to give back. Williamstown is a great community, a fantastic place to live. We’re a small community – we don’t necessarily have the money to get a lot of things done. So we depend on volunteers.

Q: What are some areas in which you feel Williamstown community members really come together? What are some areas that need improvement?

A: In these types of projects, different groups come together to make themselves available. For example, there is a new building at the football stadium and that money was all donated. Also, with the pool, contractors volunteered their time and their people. We are a close-knit community and everybody is very helpful. Where we have a problem, though, is with communication. The storm last year was an example. But it’s something we’re working on with public works and we will come up with a plan.

Q: Do you have any project that is near and dear to your heart?

A: Seeing both shelters through from beginning to end, it was an enjoyable time. I worked with Ron Erb, also a councilman, and Bernie Mulinex, and just so many others. I really enjoy that aspect of volunteering – getting to work with other people.

Q: What do you enjoy doing whenever you get a moment of free time and what are your plans for the future?

A: I like to do yard work whenever I get some free time, which isn’t very often. As long as I’m physically able, I will continue to volunteer and I would be willing to seek another term (on council) but I still have three years to go so we’ll see.

Erin O’Neill conducted this interview.