After the announcement Tuesday that Greene County Associate Commissioner Harold Bengsch will be retiring at the end of his term in 2020, colleagues and friends shared their praise for a man who has spent 61 years serving the residents of Greene County in the health department and as a County Commissioner.
U.S. Senator Roy Blunt: “Harold’s more than 60 years of service to Springfield and Greene County have benefited our entire community. Harold is a good friend, I value his advice and I’m grateful that he chose to dedicate so much of his life to public service. His work as a commissioner added to his dedicated efforts to improve our local health system, particularly with regard to increasing access to mental and behavioral health care, and will have a long-lasting impact. I wish Harold and Darlene the best in their new chapter.”
U.S. Representative Billy Long: ““First and foremost, I’d like to thank Darlene Bengsch for sharing Harold with the citizens of Greene County for all these years. I consider Harold and Darlene to be good friends and want to thank Harold for his loyal public service during his tenure at the health department and as County Commissioner. For the past 61 years, Harold has dedicated his life to his work, and I wish he and Darlene all the best as they enter this next chapter. The world could use a lot more people like Harold Bengsch; I’m just grateful Greene County was lucky enough to have had him.”
Missouri House speaker Elijah Haahr: “Harold Bengsch has been monumental in so many roles to the growth of Greene County and Southwest Missouri. His service to our community will never be forgotten.”
Springfield Mayor Ken McClure: “The names Harold Bengsch and public service are synonymous. He has been a exemplary public servant and community leader for over six decades. His 16 years as Greene County, Missouri Commissioner made him a leader in the entire county and his previous tenure as the Director of Public Health made Springfield-Greene County Health Department a premier health agency in the country. We are grateful for his service and wish both Harold and Darlene the very best.”
Greene County Presiding Commissioner Bob Dixon: “The decades of service that Harold Bengsch has given to the citizens of Greene County will never be forgotten. He’s been a great colleague and a good friend. I just have immense respect for him. I feel so privileged that I have had the opportunity to work him directly this past year and I look forward to this coming year. I certainly wish him and his family the best. He will be appreciated for many years to come.”
Greene County Association Commissioner John Russell: “Harold Bengsch is one of the finest colleagues I have ever worked with. His commitment to public service is amazing and will certainly be missed on the Commission. He’s been a tremendous mentor to me the past year. I certainly wish him the very best as he moves into a different phase of life.”
Greene County Treasurer Justin Hill: “I’ve looked up to Harold as a source of wisdom for many years. In all that time, I’ve never observed him in a hypocritical action nor even heard an unkind word come from his mouth. His ethical character and care for this community is second to none.”
Clay Goddard, Director, Springfield-Greene County Health Department: “Greene County owes so much to the decades of steadfast leadership Harold has provided our community, both in public health and public service. He has been a great mentor and has left a powerful legacy to aspire to. I consider Harold and Darlene good friends, and look forward to many more years of learning by his example.”
State Representative Sonya Murray Anderson: “I can’t think of a time when I didn’t know the name Harold Bengsch. He has left an incredible legacy in Greene County. His service to our community defines public service. Commissioner Bengsch has dedicated his life to the citizens of Greene County and there is no doubt in my mind that his decisions were made in the best interest of those he represented and not himself. He has not only been my Commissioner, he has been a mentor and a friend.
Even though he has made the decision to retire, I am confident that the people of Greene County will always be in his heart. I wish him and his family the best. His service has been a joint effort by his wife and family and I thank them for their service and sacrifice for our community.”
Greene County Auditor Cindy Stein: “There is no one better than the character that is personified by Harold Bengsch. He has been a mentor to so many in our community. We are extremely fortunate that Harold chose Greene County to share in his over 60 years of public service. May his baritone voice continue to guide others in the boards and communities for which he serves.”
Kevin Gipson, former director, Springfield-Greene County Health Department: “Harold has mentored so many young government officials, one of those being myself. I am forever grateful for his leadership in making the Springfield-Greene County Health Department such a trusted institution in our community, and his faith in me to continue on the good work he started. Greene County is a healthier place because of his decades of service.”
Greene County Clerk Shane Schoeller: “I appreciate Harold’s steadfast leadership for our community through the years and the difference it has made. As County Clerk I have seen that personally during the time we have worked together. His leadership style has always recognized the importance of listening to others and working to build consensus on important decisions to improve the quality of life for our county.”
Walnut Grove Mayor Eldon Locke: “It was always good to work with Harold. He worked his very best for the citizens of Greene County, and made great strides for Greene County. I wish him well in his retirement from the commission.”
Greene County Collector Leah Betts: “I wish Harold the best and appreciate his efforts to better our community. He will be missed.”
State Senator Lincoln Hough: “I think Harold is one of those guys who exemplifies what a true public servant is. I had the opportunity to work with iim for two years on the County Commission and the knowledge that he possesses is something that I pulled from often when working with him. The transformation he made from two health departments to one over a number of years is not something a lot of people could have done or could do. He is a pillar of the Springfield Community.”
David Burton, Missouri Extension Office: “Commissioner Bengsch has been very involved with the county extension council as a Commissioner. State law actually requires a Commissioner to be named to the county extension council.
But Commissioner Bengsch did more than just meet the letter of the law. He actually attended monthly meetings, served on committees, and provided input and ideas. He listened to speakers, attended special programs, and learned about what MU Extension can offer the community. When budgets were tight he offered ideas to pursue. When our finances were reviewed he helped with the internal audit. When new people were hired to key positions he helped with interviews and added input.
When events and programs ideas were discussed he shared about needs and opportunities. In fact, his efforts helped to bring about the new partnership between 4-H and the juvenile center that we are celebrating.
I appreciate Commissioner Bengsch’s legacy of public service. But I especially admire the humble way in which he served county residents on the extension council. There is no fanfare for this work, no special perks, no special awards. But every community organization could use more humble, hardworking leaders like Harold Bengsch.”
Greene County Public Administrator David Yancey: “Harold has been instrumental in teaching the new presiding commission, Bob Dixon, and new associate commissioner, John Russell, the policies and procedures of county government. His vast experience in government is greatly appreciated and his wisdom and foresight will be missed. Harold has always been the person to be conciliatory and even tempered when meetings have had spirited discussions. His faith and calming presence is always apparent when meeting people and during meetings. Best wishes to a true public servant who puts others above himself.”
State Representative Curtis Trent: “Commissioner Bengsch is unfailingly kind, generous, and dedicated to public service. I am thankful for his hard work to make our community better and for all his friendship. He will be missed.”
Springfield Police Chief Paul Williams: “Congratulations Greene County Commissioner Harold Bengsch, a true gentleman, scholar, and servant leader. It has been my pleasure to work with you.”
State Representative Jeff Messenger: “He’s done a lot for the county. He’s never caused any animosity or any problems, and that says a lot about Harold. It’ll probably be a lot years before we have another County Commissioner like him. I hate to see him go.”
Republic, Missouri Ward I City Councilman Eric Franklin: “Greene County has been blessed by the example Harold Bengsch has shown to us. His display of compassion, honesty and sincerity will always be a part of our Ozarks. Harold’s decades of service and his dedication to citizens give testimony to his intentions. Harold is a recipient of The Greater Ozarks Tough Tusk Award. It has been an absolute pleasure having Darlene and Harold as a part of Greater Ozark Pachyderms, and we look forward to many more years of fellowship!”