Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) presents an award to outgoing Elsah Township Clerk Janet Laubscher on behalf of the Elsah Township Board

DOW - After 44 years of public service, the Elsah Township clerk is calling it quits, partially due to her diagnosis of ALS, or “Lou Gehrig's Disease.”

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Janet Laubscher has served as the clerk of Elsah Township since 1972. During those years, she also worked at Jersey State Bank in Jerseyville and the Alton Post Office. She was honored Saturday with a luncheon and awards bestowed upon her by Illinois Sen. William Haine (D-Alton) and Rep. Dan Beiser (D-Alton) at the Elsah Township community building, located at 14690 Fessler Road in Dow.

“I'm here to honor somebody who's put in a career, not just at the Postal Service, but also at the township, and I wanted to wish her well and offer my prayers,” Beiser said.

Beiser said he knew the struggle of ALS personally. He said one of his aunts was diagnosed with the debilitating condition, and said he knew how hard the struggle could be for a family. He presented Laubscher with a clear blue award in the shape of the State of Illinois on behalf of the Elsah Township.

During the presentation, Beiser recalled seeing Laubscher at the post office in Alton during his time serving as Alton treasurer. Laubscher remembered him as well as his P.O. Box number.

Haine also recalled seeing Laubscher at many visits to the post office. He presented her a plaque on behalf of the Township Officials of Illinois. He described Laubscher's demeanor as “radiant and beautiful.” He added she was the best example of a public servant.

“I came to give my best to Janet (Laubscher),” Haine said previous to the presentation. “She has been such a wonderful public servant, not just to Elsah, but as an example to everyone.”

Illinois Senator William Haine (D-Alton) presents a plaque on behalf of the Township Officials of Illinois to Laubscher

Laubscher herself said her decision to retire came from her increasing lack of mobility. She was diagnosed with ALS nearly two years ago. She said the original diagnosis was “drop-foot,” but it swiftly evolved into something much more daunting. She is currently using a wheelchair for mobility, and was having her husband, Larry Laubscher,  take documents to the county clerk's office in Jerseyville for her.

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“It was about time she retired,” Larry Laubscher said. “We were going to travel, but it doesn't look like we'll be able to do much of that. I think we're going to spend a lot of time spoiling the grand kids.”

Janet Laubscher said she has two grandchildren, a 3-year-old boy and a 1-year-old girl. She said she was not sure what to expect from the luncheon presentation thrown in her honor by the Elsah Township Board.

Janet Laubscher sits with her 1-year-old granddaughter, Cadence Kolkmeyer before partaking in a luncheon in her honor

“I was told to be here at 11:30,” she said. “I wasn't told much else. I'm pretty sure I'm in for some surprises.”

Janet Laubscher accepted the presentations from the board graciously, and joked about her future after retirement.

“I really want people to come and visit me,” she said. “Larry is my caregiver and I don't want to be left out on the back deck in the rain.”

Her comments were met by an uproar of laughter and applause.

Her husband said taking his wife out in public has been something of an ordeal of late, not because of her decreased mobility, but because of her constant popularity.

“I can't take her anywhere,” he said. “Everybody knows her. Everybody remembers her, because she's short.”

Food for the luncheon was provided by the Elsah Township Board.

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