COOPERSBURG – When council members hold their meetings at Borough Hall here, it’s hard to overlook the young guy sitting at the end of the table. Tall, muscular, and sometimes resembling a Pennsylvania Dutch farmer complete with beard and all, Mayor Timothy Paashaus sticks out in a crowd dominated by an older generation. Paashaus knows he is the exception – but he serves in order to lead by example.
At 25 years old, Paashaus is by far the youngest person sitting at the table at Borough Council meetings. That doesn’t faze him. Every day, this homegrown leader supervises employees with more education and life experience than him. Paashaus earned his position as Branch Manager of Lafayette Ambassador Bank on North 3rd Street by starting at the bottom of the ladder, and doing whatever needed doing. Five years later, he has the privilege of helping neighbors address their financial concerns in the town he grew up in and loves.
What propelled him up the ladder of success in business and borough? “I’m not into politics,” said Paashaus. “I want to see more community involvement by our generation.”
Service is the key for Paashaus, especially at the local level. He volunteers with the youth ministry at Calvary Bible Fellowship Church on North Main Street. As mayor, he gives hours of his time to borough concerns in return for less than $10 per week. “I want to represent the borough,” said Paashaus. Since taking office in January, Paashaus said he has enjoyed the opportunity to show the borough’s support for its residents, such as at a ribbon-cutting ceremony for the Edward Jones office on South Main Street, and giving a speech honoring veterans on Memorial Day.
Though most of his contemporaries say they don’t have enough free time to volunteer in their communities, Paashaus said he felt the urge to give back early in 2009, when he first considered running for mayor. After discussing it with his wife and several council members, on the eve of Election Day, Paashaus decided to take the plunge into local politics. All day long on Election Day, Paashaus greeted voters with a small flyer announcing his write-in candidacy for mayor. With two other candidates on the ballot, odds seemed slim that a write-in candidate would be able to pull off a victory. But while handing out flyers for one of his competitors who went home for lunch on Election Day, Paashaus demonstrated he was not motivated by a desire for self-promotion. 140 of his fellow residents noticed, and elected him mayor by a comfortable margin.
As mayor, Paashaus is mainly responsible for the police department, which has a staff of 11 and a budget of over $600,000 dollars. According to him, the key to the success of the police force is its officers’ dedication to do their jobs well, regardless of what they are asked to do. “I’m proud of the guys,” said Paashaus. In his words, Coopersburg is “a safe place to live,” thanks to their efforts.
Paashaus met his wife Rachel while studying at Lancaster Bible College. As he looks into a future that may include children for them, he said he would like to help people in the borough know and care for each other. “There are a lot of people who care about their neighbors and businesses,” said Paashaus. “I want to help wherever I can.”