It’s not easy for someone operating in the public sphere to fly under proverbial radar for several decades, especially if a person’s vision, leadership and hard work are steadily building something destined to become a community treasure.
But that was just another difficult task Keith Ruble was able to accomplish. In a time when self-promotion is often a key ingredient for building stature and influence, Ruble was content to stay focused on his personal mission and let the results speak for themselves.
Now, Ruble is preparing to step aside and let others care for, and hopefully build on, the impressive local institution he helped to create.
Ruble will retire at year’s end as superintendent of the Vigo County Parks and Recreation Department, a post he’s held since 1973. In almost 40 years, he’s been able to transcend the politics that often permeates local government agencies and departments. Meanwhile, he quietly crafted, sometimes log for log, a parks system that is geographically diverse and provides a nice variety of features to those who enjoy outdoor recreation.
The county’s parks system is a great local amenity that helps create a positive image for Vigo County to those who may be considering locating a home or business here. It is certainly something to which residents can point with pride, whether it be Fowler Park’s Pioneer Village, Hawthorn Park’s trails, labyrinth and wetland, or the new Wabashiki fish and wildlife area on the Wabash River.
Ruble deserves significant recognition for his role in developing the parks system, and county leaders should be preparing to make sure he gets it.
We urge the county commissioners to give serious consideration to renaming one of the county’s parks in Ruble’s honor. It would show him, and others who toil — sometimes in obscurity — on behalf of the public that their contributions are valued and will be recognized.
We wish Keith Ruble all the best in his retirement. And we hope he can relish the fact that his life’s work helped make Vigo County a better place.