Ind. mayor who led tornado recovery to step down

By The Associated Press

NAPPANEE — A northern Indiana mayor who led his city’s recovery after a severe tornado in 2007 has decided to step down after 20 years in office.

Nappanee Mayor Larry Thompson said Thursday he won’t seek re-election in 2015 when his fifth term leading the 7,000-person city ends.

Thompson told The Elkhart Truth he was most proud of how quickly the city bounced back after the October 2007 tornado that destroyed 51 homes and damaged some 400 more homes and businesses. No one was killed or critically injured in the storm.

“We cleaned up an F-3 tornado quicker than a lot of other places,” he said. “And we did it without federal assistance. That was a big deal and we worked really hard to accomplish that.”

Thompson, a Republican, hasn’t had an opponent since he was first elected in 1995 in the city about 25 miles southeast of South Bend.

Thompson said he announced his decision to step down with nearly two years left in his term as a way to spread word of his decision and remove a possible distraction. He said he’ll concentrate on running his family’s funeral home after he leaves office.

“I can’t thank the people of Nappanee enough for letting me serve them this long,” he said.

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