As we’ve seen this past year, it’s not always an easy road to travel when taking the lead in politics. With the job comes countless hours of dedication, having to educate yourself on issues you had never thought of, much less knew existed, and opening yourself up to criticism despite it all.

In some positions the paycheck wouldn’t even cover the cost of monthly groceries. Why would anyone in their right mind want to take on this type of life?

This is exactly what Teddy Harper did in 2017, when he became mayor of the City of Lewisburg after the then seated mayor, Bert Adler decided to step down early, leaving no other prospects knocking at the door.

Why you say? What would make a retired husband, father, grandfather, and friend to so many take on such a responsibility, especially when there were many problems plaguing the city at the time? Because “that’s just Teddy,” many say. “He cares about his home and the people in it.”

For the News-Democrat & Leader “why Harper?” was an easy question for us to answer when searching for our 2017 Citizen of the Year. The Lewisburg native was an easy choice. Who else in Logan County took their retirement and placed it on hold to tackle a city on the brink of backlash with its wastewater woes?

Harper came from a simple and tough background. One of six children. Teddy grew up on a farm. For those who grew up farming, you know it is a sun-up to sun-down job. A farm raising formed Teddy into what he is now. Someone who is not afraid of hard work. Someone who knows the only

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way to accomplish anything worth anything is to work hard at it until it is done.

There doesn’t seem to be a time in Teddy’s 60 plus years he hasn’t been working. He gave 29 years to Logan Aluminum, worked for the United States Postal Service, and has been a carpenter most all of his life, learning the trade from his father.

When Harper retired in 2013, those who knew him knew it wasn’t going to slow him down. Harper himself admits he is not the kind of person to sit and enjoy listening to the crickets. Hammering a nail or sawing a piece of wood to build something was never far away. And when his community needed him... neither was he.

Harper was voted in to serve a vacant seat on the Lewisburg City Council in 2016. Helping out his community was something Teddy was no stranger to and people trusted him. Less than one year later when asked if he would serve as mayor by the seated council, Teddy accepted without hesitation... well there may have been a little.

“I am honored to be placed in this position and I want the citizens to know that I will do all I can to help this city grow and help the people who live here. I know there are going to be some challenges, but with time and effort we can get them done.”

This is the statement Harper made when becoming mayor of a city that would later explode with problems surrounding its sewer system. Problems that had been percolating for years before he ever came close to politics.

“I guess I just felt like maybe I could help make a difference,” said Harper when asked why he took the job as mayor. “They (council) asked me and I didn’t want to let them or the citizens down.”

Harper hit the ground running. He began talking to citizens about their sewer. Began educating himself on subjects only a college degree prepares you for. Tried all he could to patch broken relationships between the citizens and city during former administrations.

The newly elected mayor began going door-to-door trying to get a survey completed to help give the city a better chance at financial help from the state to fix its neglected wastewater treatment facility.

Since Harper took over as mayor, he admits there is so much more work that needs to be done. He admits he cannot do it on his own, and looks to the council and citizens to help.

As for running for mayor in the next election, Harper says he has to think about it, but he does promise he won’t leave the city or his community in a bind, and will continue to work as hard as he can to make it one of the best cities in Logan County.

Teddy is married to Lisa Perdue Harper. They have two sons, Jason and Josh, and two grandchildren.