Karin Kloss’s journey to being the Chief Deputy Trustee for Center Township in Valparaiso, Indiana, was not always set out before her like a lighted runway. She spent her youngest years in the Region and a handful of years living in New Buffalo, Michigan, working odd jobs along the way. Little did she know that those odd jobs would eventually lead her into the position she manages with efficacy today.
In the vast world of the job market, Kloss has been all over the map, from waitressing to working for Prudential Insurance for many years. She also did a short stint in the coroner’s office. What she does so well now came not as something handed to her on a silver platter but an opportunity she seized with confidence.
“When I first started as a clerk, I came in blind. I was a fill-in for some of the older ladies whenever they would take vacation or be off sick, so I would just answer phones. Through that, I started learning the different aspects of the job, like the accounting part, which I was dropped into cold turkey. I had one day of training and had to figure out my way. The first year, it was very stressful,” she said.
Because she’s a hard-worker, Kloss’ job has since taken off like a rocket ship and expanded as quickly as a lunar colony of the future, establishing her a steady lifestyle. As the years have gone by, she’s explored the stars and seen the brilliance of the sun, so to say, and a lot of her daily obligations have become all-encompassing duties.
“I started 25 years ago as a fill-in clerk and have risen since then. Now I've been there longer than anybody in the office. I've worked under three different trustees, two Republican and one Democrat. My portion of the job is township assistance, and that includes anybody that's falling on hard times and is having trouble paying their everyday living expenses. I also do the bookkeeping and accounting in the office full-time,” she said.
Now that she’s been working where she has for over two decades, Kloss’ favorite parts of the job have arrived as simple realizations. They allow her to see everything around her with pleasure and to experience her impact as something that’s bigger than herself.
“The people that I assist are mostly the people that have unfortunately fallen between the cracks. A lot of the people that I help don’t know what they need to do as far as filing for social security, for example. We assist those who’ve been laid off from their job, and we assist people who have recently been released from prison. Meeting different types of people, learning their stories, that’s my favorite part. All of it is worthwhile,” she said.
Time away from work is something that Kloss milks to the fullest. When she’s out of the office, her to-do list doesn’t have much white space on it. Year-round, whether it be watching the major Chicago sports teams or those of the colleges of Indiana, one shouldn’t be surprised to find Kloss and her family sitting in front of a television set, hoping to see endless victory.
Kloss is an athlete herself as well, especially when warmer weather comes about. She is a part of the pickleball clubs of both Valparaiso and Chesterton, constantly dominating the competition. Even during the colder portions of the year, Kloss gets additional exercise at Integrated Movement in Valparaiso.
While she travels quite often, Kloss still has time to be involved in local organizations. She and her husband are members of St. Paul Catholic Church. They also frequently spend time with their grandkids, playing cards with them and taking them to the parks.
Kloss is certainly a busy bee. At the end of the day, she’s thankful for the setting that presents all of these opportunities.
“Valparaiso’s fantastic. I love what they're doing to the downtown area. I’m excited about all of the possibilities and the expansion of the parks, especially with the new pickleball courts. For a small town, considering all of the activities that go on, I think it's got a lot to offer, and we’re always trying to take advantage of that,” she said.