Rhone advises future Grand Lake stewards to ‘take it slow’
Having entered the realm of town government at age 25, to date Aron Rhone has spent nearly half of his life sitting on Grand Lake’s town board.He started on the Board of Adjustments in 1986, then upon influence from friends D.W. Schlosser and then-Mayor Gene Stover, Rhone threw in his hat for a trustee’s seat.He’s held that seat for the past 22 years, carrying on a family legacy of public service in Grand Lake.But now “it’s time,” he said, to pass on the baton to someone else. Rhone is not running in this year’s municipal election. His seat will be filled by uncontested write-in candidate David Gibbons. But serving and protecting the town is so ingrained in Rhone, employed as a professional plumber, that one might see him on a committee board or other town-related board again some day, he said. His 24 year-dedication to the town makes for one of the longest-running town trustees. His grandfather Henry W. Rhone, who homesteaded Baker’s Gulch that is now in Rocky Mountain National Park, served from 1953 to 1954 as mayor of the town, and his uncle Henry Leo Woods was mayor from 1956 to 1959. Mayor Louis Heckert served between the two relatives of Rhone.Rhone’s father John Henry Rhone was the sole employee for many years in Grand Lake’s public works and the water department. So it was “natural” that son Rhone, who was born in Kremmling, would have the destiny of town service. He’s lived in Grand Lake all of his life, having graduated as part of what was then Middle Park High School’s largest graduation class to date: The 1980 senior class of 66 students (last year’s graduating class doubled that number of students).Rhone calculated that his family heritage in Grand Lake dates back 91 years, and Rhone has become the guardian of family keepsakes steeped in Grand Lake history. He still has the Victrola record player that once sat in Grandma Carolyn’s and Grandpa Henry’s Wiswald Tavern in Grand Lake, which is now where Max & T’s is located. He also has a wealth of scrapbooks filled with historic relevance to the town. Some of Rhone’s family photographs are displayed in the Kauffman House Museum. Yet Rhone’s perspective is that the town can’t forever be the town it once was, he said. “Change is inevitable, I believe.” So his advice to the incoming trustee and future town stewards is to approach change in a careful manner. “Stay on the same path we have been,” he said, which is taking it slow and not rushing into major changes that can dramatically alter the “togetherness” and the “smallness” of Grand Lake that so many residents cherish. It’s important not to “lose perspective of what this town was built on,” he said, “of family and of friends.” – Tonya Bina can be reached at 970-887-3334 ext. 19603 or e-mail email@example.com.
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