Gary Pichon never planned to serve more than one term on the Dawson County Board of Commissioners.
For that matter, he had no intentions of spending a single day in office until the constant nagging by his brother to run for the District 1 commission seat over eight years ago finally got to him.
On Thursday, after two terms and more than 350 meetings, Pichon walked away from the life of a public official with the sense that he believes the decisions he made on behalf of the citizens did not "drive the wagon in the ditch."
"Sometimes people get into office and they crash around and bruise others as they follow their inner voice of rightness as if the Lord talks only to them," he said. "I have tried not to do that. I have tried to understand what the majority of the people wished and I have tried to act to fulfill those wishes even if I did not agree."
His fellow commissioners presented him with a plaque at the end of Thursday's meeting and thanked him for his service.
"He's a unique personality and valuable to this commission for his perspective," said Commissioner Chairman Mike Berg. "He represents his area well and will be missed."
In turn, Pichon had a few words of advice and encouragement to the board.
"Thanks for all your work. We have done a pretty fair job. Not perfect, but good," he said.
Taking a look back, Pichon praised many decisions made by the board in the last eight years, including paying off the debt on the jail and building "a fine public courthouse and administrative building for the future, at budget and on time."
On the other hand, he said there is always room for improvement.
"Pay attention to the 400 corridor. It is the center of our economic activity," he said. "Somehow the BOC will have to shift more funding to it."
Pichon said he does have one regret that he hoped he could have accomplished during his time on the board.
"I wish I could have rallied the community around the idea of outdoor recreation as a major industry in our county," he said. "I wish we could have figured out how to do something with the [Dawson Forest Wildlife Management Area] 10,000 acres and connect that to the other public lands that are already owned by the state."
Sharon Fausett, a former teacher who now runs an agri-tourism operation with her family on the county's west side, will replace Pichon on the board.
"She will be fine, even if she is a little nervous now. That is a good sign. If she was not nervous, I would be really worried," he said.