RISING SUN — Judy Cox said she’d never been so pleasantly surprised in her life.
“I was shocked and tickled and surprised,” Cox said Monday.
The current mayor and commissioners presented her with gifts Saturday morning including the naming of one of the big rocking chairs on the porch of Rising Sun Town Hall to commemorate her years of service.
“We collectively decided to dedicate a seat of honor,” said current Mayor Travis Marion. “She served this town first as a commissioner and then as mayor.”
Cox was mayor from 2003 until 2010. She was a town commissioner before taking the top seat when Sallie Teague stepped down after 16 years in office. During her years in office Cox fought through Rising Sun’s water and sewer issues, StreetScape, annexations of large adjoining farms and the investigation and eventual conviction of former mayor and long-time employee, Sandra Didra.
Cox was summoned to town hall on a ruse to help Calvin Bonenberger, town administrator, with some archival details.
“He said can you help me with some information... about when you were mayor. Could we help you jog your memory?” she said of her conversation with Bonenberger.
While the two met in town hall Cox’s family gathered on the porch of town hall along with the current board and got ready for the surprise.
“The door to Calvin’s office kept opening,” she said of the Saturday morning shenanigans. She could not see who was at the door until Marion appeared. With their meeting over, Cox, Bonenberger and Marion took the elevator back to the ground floor.
“Calvin being a gentleman he holds the door open for me. I walk out and there’s all these people,” Cox said.
There before her was her husband Jesse, daughter Crystal, granddaughters Piper and Paige and the entire board.
“I was crying. No one’s ever surprised me like that before,” she said.
Along with the presentation of the chair in her honor, Cox was also given a framed copy of Rising Sun Resolution 2018-08, which officially lifted the water and sewer moratorium that had to be placed into effect during her administration.
“We worked so hard on that,” she said of the efforts to modernize that infrastructure.
“A lot of the things people see in Rising Sun today are because of her,” Marion said, pointing to the celebration of the town’s 150th Anniversary, and the Martin’s Food Store. “It was definitely time to honor her.”