EAST CAPE GIRAREDAU, Ill. -- Joe Aden's neighbors think he did such a good job as mayor the past 32 years they declared Saturday to be Joe Aden Day.
The town of East Cape Girardeau held a reception for Aden Saturday night in the Pearce Community Building with well-wishers, friends and people he's worked with in state government while getting funding for the city.
"He has always been such a great motivator, for our kids while he was principal at Shawnee High School and in his role as mayor," said Margie Rendleman, who worked with Aden for six years as city clerk. "I have a lot of respect for him."
Dave Pearce, who worked on the board of trustees with Aden, agreed.
"Joe has put forth so much effort in his role first as a trustee of the village of East Cape and then as mayor as the town became incorporated into a city," he said. "He has done so much for the community in his efforts to get sewers, natural gas lines and a city park. The town has doubled in size since he became mayor and he's been instrumental in getting businesses to our community. We felt he should be thanked for all his work."
In 32 years, Aden worked with the state to get funding and tax money to be used to build sewers and natural gas lines for the town. "We watched our dollars and cents and just kept going after it. It took a lot of time, but it was worth working for," Aden said.
He retired from being principal and went to work for the Drug and Alcohol Prevention Program for the state of Illinois for 10 years. During all those years he made time to serve as an East Cape Girardeau trustee, then took over as mayor when the first mayor, Bud Pearce, became too ill for the job. "I just love this small community," Aden said, "I am dedicated to Bud Pearce, who got the incorporation started for East Cape, and I just wanted to keep up his good work."
"It was a priority to me to benefit the people of our town with things like sewers, parks, the Pearce Community Building and paved streets," Aden said. "It's meant lots of late hours, but it's been worth it to work with the board members and have such good cooperation among the citizens of East Cape and to see our community grow and prosper."