Late Wednesday night, Buena Vista County Auditor Karen Strawn was hospitalized after suffering a mild stroke. Strawn has been going through some tests in Sioux City, and depending on the results, she could be released as soon as today or Sunday.
BV County Supervisor Lorna Burnside has been in contact with Strawn and said the longtime public servant was is good spirits.
"I told Karen when I heard what happened it felt like my right arm was cut off - because she is literally our right arm," Burnside said of Strawn's leadership role in county government.
In addition to her elected position, Strawn is secretary to the board of supervisors and county commissioner of elections.
"To say I was shocked when I heard the news would be putting it mildly. She hadn't been sick or shown any other signs that I know of beforehand," Burnside said.
"It's something that you really don't think about until it happens," Supervisor Chairman Herb Crampton agreed. "I was just getting back from meetings when I was told what had happened."
It is currently unknown when Strawn will return to the courthouse but Burnside and Crampton both agreed that she is expected to take plenty of time to get well.
"It depends on what the doctors say and the test show but if I know Karen, she will want to come back before the doctors want her to," Burnside said.
Strawn has served for many years and has a strong knowledge about the county's business.
"She is intense and accurate, those are the only words I know how to describe her," Burnside said. "If anything comes across her desk she handles it. If Karen didn't know something or know how to do something she would learn it."
Crampton added that Strawn would work into the night to make sure work was done.
"No matter if it was drainage ditches or roads she seemed to know enough about it," Crampton said.
The rest of the Auditor's office staff will be filling in during Strawn's absence.
"(Strawn) has really trained them well," Crampton said. "I've been into the courthouse a few times already and they have been making sure everything gets done and they are doing a great job."
The mood in the courthouse is different since news of Strawn's emergency, but everyone is making sure the job gets done, Crampton said.
"I've been calling in a few times a day to let the office know where I am in case they need me," Crampton said.
Both Crampton and Burnside admitted that it will be different going into the board meeting on Tuesday morning withouth Strawn there.
"Any other time she was missing was for rare professional reasons, but this time it is different. Sue (Kennedy) will be there and she has been there as long as Karen and she will do very well," Burnside said.
Meanwhile, the county staff waits for good news from Sioux City and sends their best wishes to Strawn.