After returning home from Council last Tuesday night I published the news our mayor would not seek re-election in the fall. I then wrote the following words on my personal Facebook page: “I know we are to be objective in the news business, but if there is a better man than Mayor Paul Krauskopf, I’d like to meet him.”
In August of 2011 I received an email from then Councillor Paul Krauskopf to meet him at Tim Hortons for a chat. Sitting with a cup of half coffee and half hot chocolate, Krauskopf paused between sips to tell me his story, a story of his battle with cancer, his determination to press on with life, and his desire to assist others battling the disease, the latter being something he had already done at that point. He was looking to media to help him reach out to those in our community who may be fighting the same fight he was simply to lift someone up in the darkest of days. It is just the kind of man he is, and, I am told by those who have known him for years, the kind of man he has always been.
It has been no secret in this community that Krauskopf has served this community through his illness. As he said to me almost two years ago over a warm beverage: “That’s one thing I decided. I wasn’t going to sit down and feel sorry for myself.” And he hasn’t.
As many in this community will attest, Krauskopf has served this community well as an elected official for the past decade and a half. He has also served our community as an active member of the Knights of Columbus and other groups, and has served as Deputy Fire Chief, the latter being something newer residents may not even be aware of.
Krauskopf is the type of municipal leader who one often sees but seldom hears from unless that voice needs to be heard. Through his career, and even through the last few years when others in his shoes might do otherwise, he has been a regular face at almost every community event in this town, large and small. He’s usually there for the duration and not merely for a quick breeze by. When not attending officially as a member of Council, Krauskopf has often plunked down his own money to buy a ticket to support the group running the event.
That presence has not been for the opportunity to have one of the local papers snap his picture or so he can take a cellphone shot to self promote his whereabouts on Twitter or Facebook, as is the standard operating procedure of the modern politician, modern corporation – and modern news publication – in a narcissistic age where our collective attention spans and depth seem limited to 140 characters of type. Krauskopf’s leadership is old school; his attendance has been simply to drink in the many parts of the community he is one of the long-standing pillars of.
We lose a great man in office when the ballots are cast Oct. 21, one who has offered a genuine ear of concern and compassion to residents and one who has the ability to put a boot in someone’s backside to get things moving along when it needs moving along. Though the name Krauskopf will not be on the ballot for the first time in 15 years, we are fortunate the community retains a great man as a citizen, one whose genuine work ethic and genuine love of Morinville is the bar by which this community must weigh any and all who wish to fill his seat or the six others on Council this fall.