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‘Overdue’ Sagamore bestowed on Davis

‘Overdue’ Sagamore bestowed on Davis ‘Overdue’ Sagamore bestowed on Davis

Former Harrison County councilman Gary Davis was honored last week during a presentation that Scott Fluhr, chair of the local Republican party, said was a “tad overdue.”

The Sagamore of the Wabash was “requested from the governor’s office two years ago and approved then,” he said, “but Gov. Eric Holcomb knew the recipient and decided he wanted to present it in person and so the presentation was delayed until he could be here.”

Davis went off the county council at the end of 2018 after deciding not to seek another term. Eventually the COVID-19 pandemic hit Indiana and Holcomb hasn’t been able to make it to Harrison County to bestow the award.

Rather than waiting any longer, Fluhr, along with State Rep. Karen Engleman, R-Georgetown, made the presentation at the start of the Harrison County Council meeting on Monday, Dec. 28.

“Just pretend we’re each 6-foot-6 and are wearing cowboys boots,” Fluhr said, referring to Holcomb’s height and footwear of choice.

Davis was lured to the meeting as a member of the Harrison County Regional Sewer District board.

Fluhr said Davis has been “a friend, mentor and sometimes debating partner for two decades of Republican council members and elected officials. For 16 years, he served on the Harrison County council and for 14 of those years as its chairman.

“During that time, Harrison County changed a lot,” he said, “but a constant was his steady hand on the fiscal tiller of our county and his keen eye for detail in being a conservative steward of public funds.”

Since Davis left office, his practice of fiscal responsibility has continued.

“No one dares come into a county council meeting without their facts and figures,” Fluhr said. “And if they do, they never make that mistake a second time.”

During Davis’ tenure on the council, the county put aside more than $100 million in riverboat funds to be ready for a rainy day officials hoped would never come.

However, that rainy day did come in 2020 in the form of a novel coronavirus.

“Thanks to prudent fiscal management on (Davis’) part, and on the part of his fellow council members over many years, Harrison County was far better prepared than most Indiana counties,” Fluhr said.

Engleman explained that Native American tribes in the Midwest used the term “Sagamore” to denote great and respected individuals of the tribe to whom the chief might seek wisdom and advice.

“And so, ever since, governors of Indiana have awarded Sagamores of the Wabash to individuals who have contributed greatly to our state,” she said.

Past recipients of the Sagamore include astronauts, presidents, ambassadors, artists, musicians, doctors, politicians, business people and ordinary citizens.

“We are honored to be able to present one tonight to someone who more than meets the criteria of contributing greatly to our community and our state, and someone that leaders of this county and this state have looked to for wisdom and advice for decades,” Engleman said.

Davis went to the podium, looked at the document and then said, “Thanks, everybody,” before returning to his seat.

“I wish we had been able to present this two years ago, at his last council meeting,” Fluhr said, “but better late, as they say, than never.”