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Chester County Press

Editorial: The cantankerous servant

03/28/2023 12:58PM ● By Richard Gaw

While it is certainly a welcomed gift in the toolbox of any elected official, “warm and fuzzy” is not an absolute requirement, and a scroll down the roster of some of our country’s most distinguished politicians past and present will reveal men and women of great accomplishment who would never be seen dancing with schoolchildren at a Maypole event or joining a local chorus for a few bars of “You’re a Grand Ol’ Flag” at a Fourth of July community barbecue.

When it comes to effective governing, the countenance of the smiling politician is often of superfluous value, much the way kissing babies and shaking hands does nothing to push the needle forward on proper legislation.

For those who worked with and knew John Patrick “Pat” Little when he was a supervisor – and chairman – of the New Garden Township Board of Supervisors for the past several years, very few of them would confuse Little for someone naturally prone to an unbearable lightness of being.

For Little, who died at the age of 78 on March 2, every true fiber of who he was revealed itself to the public who attended each of the board’s meetings. He had no patience for unpreparedness. He scoffed at those who spoke before the board asking for township funding without sufficient reasons for doing so. He had no time for posers who grandstanded against decisions that he and his fellow supervisors made, and he had the fortitude to remain true to his convictions and not cave to the whim of where the wind of common sentiment was blowing.

He was cantankerous, impatient, occasionally caustic and a member of the most effective and successful group of supervisors to serve New Garden in recent memory.

For the nearly eight years Pat Little served on the New Garden board, his demeanor seemed to depict a man dedicated to the simple agenda of making the right decisions not just for a select pocket of residents, but for everyone. Along with his colleagues Steve Allaband, Richard Ayotte, Randy Geouque, Michael Loftus and township manager Tony Scheivert, Little steered the township through bold initiatives designed to improve the lives and safety of the township’s residents.

He helped champion the concept that created the Southern Chester County Regional Police Department (SCCRPD) that merged the West Grove and New Garden police departments together.

On Dec. 18, 2018, he and his colleagues approved the township’s acquisition of the 137.5-acre Saint Anthony’s in the Hills property for $1.5 million from Saint Anthony of Padua Catholic Church in Wilmington.

On Sept. 21, 2019, he joined his fellow board members at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the new home for the SCCRPD, an 11,716-square-foot, $4.3 million facility on Gap-Newport Pike he supported from the time of its first drawings.

He was instrumental in the township’s decision to purchase the 105-acre 18-hole golf course at the Loch Nairn Golf Club in Avondale in June of 2021, which will be preserved in perpetuity as open space and include an intricate trail system for residents to enjoy.

In Little’s obituary, it is written that he “truly lived a life of service until his final days.” Over the next several decades, Pat Little’s imprint as a public servant will be seen and felt in the lingering effects of his commitment to New Garden Township. The effectiveness of its police department will continue to be strengthened through its state-of-the-art facility. The paths and greens of Loch Nairn will serve as a lovely link of connection between people and nature, and at what is now known as New Garden Hills, generations of families will be able to envelop themselves in a wooded canopy of activity and enjoyment.

That is quite the legacy for a man who, where he here today, would scoff at the acknowledgement of all that he had done in selfless service to others.