January 7, 2013 9:34:57 AM
Sarah Fowler - firstname.lastname@example.org
For Judy Whitcomb, the idea of public service extends far beyond her part-time job as town and court clerk in Caledonia.
Ask any resident of the small town and you will be quickly informed that if Whitcomb isn't at her official job, she's either visiting someone in the hospital, sending a card to a friend who's down and out, or taking care of someone in need. With her quick wit and infectious smile, Whitcomb has made a name for herself as the woman you can always call on in your time of need.
After eight years as town clerk, Whitcomb said she is retiring so she can serve the community in a different way.
Originally from Kansas, Whitcomb has lived all over the United States, but it is Caledonia she calls home.
Her arrival as town clerk was as simple as answering a phone call. Whitcomb had just retired from the Columbus Lowndes Economic Development Authority after 20 years when the town of Caledonia came calling.
"They called and asked if I would consider applying. I always thought it would be fun to work here, so I applied. There were 25 applications and they narrowed those down to three. I got the job," she said with a grin.
In the last few years, Whitcomb has had the opportunity to work side by side with her granddaughter, Krista Hill. Hill has filled in for her grandmother on various occasions and will move into Whitcomb's position when she retires Feb. 1. Hill will serve as the clerk until elections in August.
Looking at her grandmother with obvious pride, Hill spoke lovingly of Whitcomb.
"She will help anyone no matter what," Hill said. "It doesn't matter if she's down to her last dime, she'll give it to you. She's the best person I know."
With two children, five grandchildren and six great-grandchildren, Whitcomb looks forward to spending more time with her large family, although she doesn't see herself becoming a home-body.
Whitcomb said she has a soft spot in her heart for hospice patients and intends to volunteer with the terminally ill.
She said she will also continue to write cards and visit people to give them a personal touch, something she feels is lacking in today's society.
"People have gotten to the point where they're too busy to see people," she said, with a disapproving shake of her head. "It's my pet peeve."
Although Whitcomb will retire in a few weeks, she will likely still stop in her old office to make sure things are running smoothly. She lives within walking distance of the clerk's office and said not only will she miss the job, but she'll miss interacting with the people of Caledonia.
"I've loved every minute of it," she said. "I've enjoyed the people and the people I work with. I've gotten all the love and support I could ever hope for."
Sarah Fowler covered crime, education and community related events for The Dispatch.