Jim Auxer grew up in Harrisburg pa; he was the older child of his parent's Ruth and James Arthur and his little brother Jeffery. His were always supportive of his brother and him. Jim starred on the football field at Central Dolphin, and his parents saw all the games that he played. It was the 1960s, and he chose Shepherd College.
Jim played for the Rams for four years, lettering four times and was chosen all-conference two years running. In 1969 he graduated with a BA in History and Elementary Education. His first job out was at Sully Elementary in Sterling, Va., teaching 4th grade. He was also the football coach at Broadrun High School where he worked with Shepherd alumni: Lynn Carr and Ronnie Pyles. At Shippensburg University in the Lab for MED counseling and discovered his passion and talent as a counselor since he liked to listen and help to resolve issues.
In 1972 Jim finally got an opportunity to work in the major league of tough cases when he became a counselor at Camp Hill State Prison in Harrisburg. He soon headed up the mental health unit. He also volunteered at Catholic Social Services and provided counseling for unwed mothers. Eventually, he had responsibility for 250 inmates and 70 officers at Camp Hill.
The 80s had brought all kinds of change for Jim Auxer. One day, Dawn Fye, an eye-catching resident in the Harrisburg neighborhood was out renovating her home. "I think Dawn was hoping I offer to do the work for her," Jim laughed. "I didn't ... but I did lend her some tools and took her out for dinner." Apparently, dinner went well, and Jim and Dawn got in 1986. Five years later, Dawn, with a Masters Degree in industrial psychology and a prestigious career in government, decided to give it up for the world of the stay at home Mom and she's never looked back.
Joselyn Auxer was born in 1991, and by this time the Auxer's had bought a home on New Street in Shepherdstown. Eighteen years later, the Auxer home, now with kittens Chief and Teke, is still that beautiful place on New Street. There was a time when Jim owned a horse stable and showed jumpers: Bernie and Airport. Though Jim has had little time to ride lately, Bernie at 28 is still around, just not in the New Street house.
Joselyn is in Jefferson High School Class of 2010. "I taught her how to ride her bike." Then "My wife and daughter are wonderful. I'm very proud of what Joselyn has done. But it was Dawn who drove her to practice at the crack of dawn and to swim meets around the state every weekend. I'm very proud of Joselyn, and I'm very proud of her mother. We're a close family."
Back in 1999 - After 28 years at Camp Hill State Prison, Jim decided it was time to go and joined the staff of Eastern Regional Jail as Vice President of Prime Care. Jim usually works on holidays and today is no exception. "Dawn, Joselyn and I will open gifts and celebrate a little in the morning, and then I'll go to work." Why does the boss work holidays? "When you lead you to have to be willing to show your people you're willing to do what they have to do."
As for the real need to be there. "These men need counseling at Christmas more than any other time. They've messed up their lives, and they're locked up. They need to talk and have someone listen. That's what I do. I provide counseling, solve problems and help the jail run better. I do what I can."
In 2000 Jim Auxer decided to run for mayor of Shepherdstown. He won and began immediately working on Shepherdstown infrastructure. "Infrastructure is my thing." First, the septic system hook-up for the East End that had been promised in 1980 was completed, and then the sewer plant started, then another election and another mayor. Not to be discouraged, and "There was still a lot of work to do" Jim ran again, and in 2007 he won again.
He gives credit to the Town Council. He has nothing but praise for Meredith Wait, president of the SBA, and Dr. Suzanne Shipley for willingly and regularly sitting down with him to bring Shepherd University, the business community, and the town government all under one tent for the betterment of Shepherdstown. "It's the only way to learn and rectify situations." And "Yes it looks like there's going to be a Shepherd parking garage."
The Mayor arrives at Town Hall at 6:30 a.m. on weekday mornings. Ann an hour later he's at the Wellness Center which he calls "A great recruiting tool for Shepherd." He's out on the street by 8:45 and on any given day is listening to townsfolk who stop him from talking. He's back in the office from 9:30 to noon taking care of business and then he goes to work ... at Eastern Regional. He supports town events, school events, and goes to ALL Rams football games. He's the recipient of awards and honors such as 2009 SU Alumni of the Year and takes it all in with humility.
Jim Auxer is an exciting guy. At first glance, he's a bear of a man, serious and a little gruff. But then you listen to his soft-spoken way with a rational explanation, or you sit in a single issue Town Hall meeting and watch him look intently and respectfully to anyone who has something to say, and a different picture emerges. Here is a gentleman, one who feels so deeply about this town that he's willing to make the tough decisions, take ultimate responsibility, and then step up for the adherent slings and arrows.
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