Wednesday, December 20, 2023
AUBURN, Ind. – State Representative Ben Smaltz closed the final Auburn Common Council meeting of 2023 in fitting style Tuesday night by bestowing one of the state’s highest honors to a longtime council member who is retiring.
In front of a full council chambers Smaltz presented Denny Ketzenberger, a 16-year member of the council, with a Sagamore of the Wabash.
“I view the Sagamore of the Wabash as a very significant award in my 12 years as a State Representative I have only asked for three, with you being one,” Smaltz said. “I believe it is a very high honor, it designates the person as a Hoosier with high distinction.”
Smaltz has also presented Sagamore of the Wabash honors to Judge Kevin Wallace, DeKalb Superior Court I, and Kendallville Mayor SuzAnne Handshoe.
Smaltz said the process started a couple of months ago when Ketzenberger’s son, John approached him with a letter inquiring about the honor. From their it was in the hands of Auburn Common Council President Natalie DeWitt who made the formal request to Governor Eric Holcomb’s office.
“I could not be more pleased to recognize you for your service to this community and this state,” Smaltz said.
Accepting the award, with his wife and family in the audience, Ketzenberger fought back his emotions and was speechless for a moment.
“I never knew this was coming,” he said. “This threw me off I had no idea. I wanted to tell everyone how much I have appreciated working with all of you. It is a pleasure to work with everyone in the city.”
Ketzenberger then went on to thank his family for their support over the years.
“My wife came tonight she came for my first and was here for my last council meeting,” he said. “I would like to thank the community …It has been a real privilege to serve.”
Ketzenberger is not totally done with local politics he has accepted a seat on the Auburn Redevelopment Commission starting in 2024.