A small town has put him on t-shirts and on its Facebook site. But it’s the place he’s been for the last 26 years that makes Wallace Loney the talk of the town.
McCallsburg has itself a landmark.
“They just call me plain ‘Wally,’” he says.
He’s often on four wheels sputtering through town at around 15 miles per hour.
“Do you always drive this slow?” “Oh, yeah. Looking for things.”
“He goes out and picks up sticks out of people’s yards to make the town look clean!” laughs Harlan Borton of McCallsburg.
“I’m big on clean, yep,” Wally admits.
He’s often his own two legs stopping in for a greeting.
Yes, to the 313 residents, he’s “Wally.” But to the town of McCallsburg, he’s more.
“It is a point of pride for this town,” says former city councilwoman, Robin Pruisner, “we are very proud of it.”
When RAGBRAI went through in 2012, Wally got his own tent.
“We decided to showcase Wally because he’s our historic landmark in McCallsburg,” Pruisner says.
Wally is absolutely not a town mascot. To the contrary; he’s in charge. He’s on his 13th term as mayor.
“I knew how to govern people,” he says.
“Caring for the town; that’s the main thing,” Borton says. “He loves this town.”
Small-town business blight hasn’t spared McCallsburg, but Mayor Loney has done a lot to keep it moving forward.
“We put in natural gas, cable TV, natural gas.”
Natural gas was big. So was high speed internet. So was keeping the post office. Both in office and out on the street, Loney has been effective and tireless.
“The ability to just stay in a mayor position like that and continue to be as compassionate as he is, and not just at times want to punch someone, that’s amazing,” Pruisner laughs.
He is already the oldest mayor in the state of Iowa, and this week, he turns 90. Although he garnered 98% of the vote in the last election, Loney says this term is his last.
“Oh, I think 26 years will be enough,” he says.
When that happens, McCallsburg will lose its “Iowa’s Oldest Mayor” landmark but not it’s Wally.
He’ll still be out on the town.