Joe Ricketts honored for years of service to Vevay’s Switzer Square

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A small tree and a granite plaque have been placed on the west side of the Switzer Square Senior Apartment complex in honor of Joe Ricketts.

The plaque reads, “In Honor of Joe E. Ricketts for his 35 years of dedication to this complex.”

After all of those years, Joe Ricketts is retiring from the board of directors that runs Switzer Square – a position he’s had since before there even was a Switzer Square.

“I was appointed by the Vevay Town Board along with Ozzie (Raymond Osborn, Jr.) and Lloyd Farrar,” Joe Ricketts said. “We were told to find the land so that we could build this facility. And here it is.”

The original Switzer Square opened with 32 apartment units in July of 1977 with full capacity. Another 18 units were built in 1982; and with some consolidation of units, the facility now has 45 apartments available for Switzerland County senior citizens.

“We’ve been a capacity ever since we opened,” Joe Ricketts said. “There’s been a few times when we’ve had one or two units vacant for a short time, but we’ve basically been full since the beginning.”

With Switzer Square completed, the non-profit organization then appointed a board of directors to oversee the operations. Again, Joe Ricketts was asked to serve on the board, and after the first couple of years, he was elected board president – a job he never gave up until his retirement now.

“It’s technically the Switzerland County Housing board of directors, but everyone calls it Switzer Square,” Joe Ricketts says. “I’ve appreciated my part of it. It’s been educational.”

“And it’s also been voluntary,” fellow board member Betty Lucas added. “It’s a non-profit organization, so everything Joe’s done over the years has been without any pay.”

“It wouldn’t be about the pay, anyway,” Joe Ricketts says. “It’s a place where many people have had the opportunity to have a better quality of living than they would have had without this building. For some residents, you can look in their eyes and tell how appreciative they are that a place like Switzer Square exists.”

As hard as it will be, the board of directors will move forward – now under the presidency of Joe Spiller.

“There’s no way I can fill Joe’s shoes,” Joe Spiller said. “But I’ve already told him that if things get tough, I’m going to call him.”