When Howard Buffett sat down with the Herald & Review editorial board a little less than a year ago, the then-Macon County sheriff knew exactly how many days were left in his term, and gave us that number.
We join Decatur and Macon County citizens grateful to read Ryan Voyles story in today's Herald & Review. Decatur's 2018 Citizen of the Year isn't going to “just disappear,” and Buffett said he and his foundation are still “totally committed” to solving problems and financially aiding people and projects in the area.
Buffett proved true to his commitment as a public servant by making it clear from the beginning of his September 2017 appointment by Thomas Schneider. Schneider said one of the reasons he appointed Buffett sheriff was to avoid giving an advantage to or forcing a disadvantage on any of his three top replacement candidates in advance of the election. Both Brown and Root have been appreciative of the appointment.
DECATUR — First things first: Howard Buffett isn't going away.
Just as Decatur and Macon County remain deeply appreciative of the commitment he has shown to them. The 63-year-old philanthropist has donated millions through his Howard G. Buffett Foundation to many of the area's nonprofit and public institutions, including Crossing Healthcare, United Way, the sheriff's department, the Decatur Park District and the city of Decatur. He has given more than $100 million to the city and the county since he first moved to the area in 1992 to become a corporate vice president and assistant to the chairman at Archer Daniels Midland.
In August, Buffett announced the foundation would spend $30 million to build a 17-acre campus of drug rehabilitation and social service facilities between Central Avenue and Marietta Street near the Wabash Crossing neighborhood. Crossing Healthcare, a federally qualified health care clinic that serves primarily low- and moderate-income residents, will own the four new facilities.
While Buffet earns credit, praise and repeated thanks for his foundation's financial contributions, those who have worked closely with him in professional situations have expressed surprise, delight and gratitude for both his presence and the questions he asks with the goal of helping reduce or solve problems. Crossing Healthcare CEO Tanya Andricks described working with Buffett as talking to someone who remembered every answer and tried to think of ways he could help.
Buffett says his routine now will be much the same as it was before he took over the office. He will probably spend no more than three or four months a year in Decatur with plenty of traveling to oversee and pursue projects.
We wish Buffett enjoyable and productive days ahead. We applaud the job he did as interim sheriff, and we're thankful that Buffett has seen fit to be an altogether too generous benefactor to our community. We're also grateful that so many who have worked with him have so many positive things to say. May all the financial, professional and personal goodwill Buffett has shared with our community be paid forward multiple times.
We would all be the better for it.