We first heard about Virgil Harms through our newstip line. His grandson e-mailed us saying, "You guys should check out my grandfather Virgil! He's about to celebrate a half century as Paoli's mayor."
Our first reaction was, "Where's Paoli?" and our second reaction was, "Wow! That's a long time to be mayor."
We met with Virgil and his wife Eloise at their home on Harms Way, which was respectfully named after them.
In this tiny town of 42 people, Virgil was easy to spot.
"I'm not going to serve 50 more years I'll tell ya," Virgil joked.
For the last fifty years, Virgil has served as the mayor of Paoli. And for 50 years it is has been a job he has never wanted.
It started in 1961 when the then mayor asked him to be mayor pro-temp as a favor.
"The way I got to be mayor pro-temp was the mayor didn't want to sign the liquor license," he said. "He never told me why. And I was young and dumb so I just did it."
The liquor store that used that license didn't survive too long. Nor did the actual mayor. He died, leaving Virgil in charge of the town.
"I told him the only way he's going to get out is if he quits and throws down the books," Virgil's wife Eloise joked.
Laughter is what got Virgil and his wife Eloise through his years in office.
"I don't want him to end up like the last mayor, he got out by dying," Eloise joked.
Quite frankly, the years have just flown by.
"Doesn't seem like it's been that long. But when you look back on the books, it is," Eloise said.
You might wonder how one man has been able to be mayor for so long. After all, there are term limits.
"There was until it came time for me to quit, then they threw it out. And there haven't been term limits since then," Virgil said.
And the cost?
"It cost about 800 dollars to have an election. Even in a small town. And, we just didn't want to spend the money, so we just don't do it," Virgil said.
Who knows if that's even legal.
Virgil says he would willingly give up the title if someone else would take it. But no one in Paoli seems interested.
(KUSA-TV © 2011 Multimedia Holdings Corporation)