Ron Baumgartner will be fulfilling the role of commodore for the 54th annual Wawasee Flotilla. As commodore, he will lead the “Pirate Parade” themed flotilla at 1:30 p.m. July 4, starting in front of the Wawasee Spink and moving clockwise around the lake.
Baumgartner, a longtime resident of Milford and Lake Wawasee, said, “I am really looking forward to being commodore of this year’s 54th annual flotilla.
“To be chosen for this position, among the service men and women, public servants and community leaders who have been honored as commodores in the past, is very humbling.”
He added, “As with many individuals in our communities in the lakes area, I have tried to be helpful to the numerous events, clubs, charities and nonprofit organizations that need the support of all of us.
“The Fourth of July has always been one of my favorite holidays, marked with family gatherings, fireworks and the celebration of the signing of the Declaration of Independence, declaring our independence as a nation. This year, serving as the Flotilla’s Commodore will be a capstone on the Fourth of July for me.”
Baumgartner, the son of Arch and Della Baumgartner, is the current president of The Papers Inc. in Milford. The company has been in the family since Arch purchased The Milford Mail in 1939.
A Milford High School graduate, Baumgartner went on to attend and graduate from Indiana University in 1966. After his graduation, he returned to Milford and began working for his parents.
Under his leadership, The Papers has continued to expand and now publishes 25 publications, including The Mail-Journal and ‘the PAPER.’ The company also prints a host of weekly newspapers and advertising circulars, as well as school and college publications.
Just last year, Baumgartner and The Papers were awarded the Kosciusko County Entrepreneur and Innovation Hall of Fame honor.
He is a member of the Milford Lions Club and helps his home community in many ways. One of the latest projects is providing storage space for the Milford Food Bank in The Papers’ First Street plant. Additionally, Baumgartner serves on the board of the Wawasee Area Conservancy Foundation and the Kosciusko County Community Foundation. He also gives out two scholarships: one in his father’s name and one in his late wife Gloria’s name.
Baumgartner married Gloria Slabaugh in August 1965 who passed away in 2008. Together, they have two daughters, Christine Corson, who is married to Jeremy, and Jennifer Baumgartner. Christine and Jeremy have two children, Clair and Ben.
In August 2014, he married Tami Moore.
Besides leading the festivities, Baumgartner in his role as commodore will be selecting the winner of the coveted Commodore Cup.
To have a chance to win this award and others, like Most Patriotic, Best Commercial/Business, Most Original and more, would-be flotilla entries must register. Registration forms will be available at local retailers, by calling (574) 457-3775 or by emailing [email protected]. Flotilla entries will then line up at 1 p.m. in front of the Wawasee Spink.
For information on this year’s Flotilla, visit www.wawaseeflotilla.com.