Several hundred people gathered Saturday for a massive farewell party to honor a county icon.
On her 65th birthday, Pattie Bender was recognized for her 45 years of service as a St. Joseph County employee. She served 24 of her final years as county clerk.
Staged at the Henningsen Show Arena at the county fairgrounds, the event drew friends, family, co-workers and dignitaries, and featured live music and picnic-style food.
Bender was the recipient of high praise from U.S. Rep. Fred Upton, State Sen. John Proos and Andrew Haan, representing the governor’s office. State Rep. Aaron Miller was unable to attend the ceremony portion of the party due to a family commitment.
Upton said it was a privilege to be invited to and a part of an event “to honor just a wonderful lady.”
Meanwhile, Proos and Haan went on to read a state proclamation recognizing Bender and her 45 years of service to St. Joseph County. The proclamation not only acknowledged her years of employment, but her volunteerism to the United Way Board, the Three Rivers Area Chamber board, Three Rivers Rotary, Centreville Lions Club, St. Joseph County FOP, and the Three Rivers First Presbyterian Church.