desperate
Mayor Jimmy Lunsford looks on with his family at the unveiling of the Troy Municipal sign, now named after the city’s first mayor under the mayor-council form of government. The unveiling followed a ceremony honoring Mayor Lunsford, where friends, peers, and family reflected on the past 30 years.

Archived Story

‘At its finest’

Published 8:00pm Monday, October 29, 2012

Hundreds gather to honor Troy’s first mayor

Temperatures dipped into the 50s and the wind howled, but it wasn’t enough to chill the warm spirits at Mayor Jimmy Lunsford’s retirement ceremony Monday evening.

Laughter and applause radiated throughout a tent set up near Troy’s municipal complex as guest after guest got up to share memories and good wishes for the public servant of 30 years.

“If you can hold down a job in Troy for this long, you must have been doing something right,” joked hostess for the event, Tonya Terry.

Lunsford’s family was joined by close to 300 people who made an appearance during the three-hour reception and ceremony for the man Gov. Bob Riley called “the best mayor in Alabama.”

“He’s a man who never quits working for the city,” said Rep. Alan Boothe of the mayor. “He never, never quits.”

Lunsford was presented with proclamations from Gov. Robert Bentley, the Clerk of the House of Representatives, the Pike County Commission and the mayor of Andalusia.

Longtime friend Kenny Campbell spoke about Lunsford’s “dedication, devotion and passion.”

“When this man is working on a project, he is a dynamo!” Campbell said. “This man eats, breathes and sleeps his job.”

Campbell turned to Lunsford, “If you look around, you’ve left your mark all over this whole town.”

“The difference you’ve made in our community has been phenomenal,” said Pike County Commissioner Robin Sullivan, adding that Lunsford’s recruitment of industry has been paramount to the community’s success. “You don’t take ‘no’ for an answer and you just go get it.”

Marsha Gaylard, president of the Pike County Economic Development Corporation, said Lunsford was well prepared to be an economic development mayor.

“He possesses the people skills to be able to work with people on every level to be successful,” Gaylard said.

Outgoing Troy Councilwoman Wanda Moultry said she appreciated Lunsford’s steadfastness.

“At any given time, you could have leaned one way or the other, but you stood strong,” Moultry said.

“We’ve had a tremendous ride,” said longtime friend and Troy City Councilmember Johnny Witherington. “History will speak to that and prove that.

“Jimmy has provided the kind of leadership this country needs on a very local level. During his time at the helm of the ship, Troy was at its finest.”

When Mayor-elect and current Councilmember Jason Reeves spoke, his words were reflective about what Lunsford had taught him, which may have included a little bit of the outgoing mayor’s sense of humor.

“I may be the only man in Alabama who has ever known what Ray Perkins felt like,” Reeves said of following Lunsford’s career filled with successes.

“If I am a success, a lot of it will have to do with the things I learned from you,” Reeves said. “No one has ever done as much for my hometown as you have and I am grateful for that.”

The mayor was presented with some tokens of gratitude throughout the event, including a collection of letters from community members, a rocking chair and a watch. But the biggest show of appreciation came with the unveiling of a sign at the corner of South Brundidge Street and Elm Street declaring the collection of city buildings “The Jimmy C. Lunsford Municipal Complex.”

“Thank God for my 30 years of service,” Lunsford said through tears as he looked around at everyone who gathered to wish him well in his retirement. “I’m thankful, and I do thank my God for allowing me to serve these 30 years in my wonderful, wonderful community.”

 

  1. TBAR

    This new signage in such a prominent location is way, way too much recognition for a man who was just doing the job the city paid him to do. And paid him well, two checks every month. One as mayor and another as defacto head of the Southeast Alabama Gas District.
    His name is already on the tennis courts on Elm street. His name is already on numerous bronze plaques around town.
    A more appropriate honor would have been to name a street in his neighborhood or perhaps towntown as was done for Mr. Meeks. As it is now, thousands of residents and visitors alike will be exposed to this sign on a daily basis for generations to come.
    I dare say if the city council had put the decision to place such a sign up for a vote by the citizens, it would not be there today.
    This is Troy Alabama, not Lunsfordtown.

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  2. Gus

    TBAR, he has been Mayor for 30 years. He was the first elected Mayor to the city of Troy. He has brought numerous jobs and needed departments to Troy. As far as thousands of residents and visitors being “exposed” to this sign, I think they should. He has earned and worked for us, now let us recognize his accomplishments with respect.

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  3. Observer

    Not to disparage Jimmy Lunsford, but, when it comes to who has done the most for Troy I would think Lunsford would walk in Charles Henderson’s shadow. Henderson was mayor, he was chief of police, he was the founding member of the school board and he was governor. Henderson built the Pea River Power Company which built the electrical utilities in Troy and then as Mayor bought them from himself as the city and that has been the goose which continues to lay the golden eggs. Lunsford bragged about not raising taxes – but he did not need too – Henderson made it possible for the city to grow its revenue by adjusting utility rates. It was Henderson who brought a teacher college to Troy with financing from the City School’s to create what is now Troy State University.

    Jimmy Lunsford has served for 30-years and has his accomplishments. But, he would have to be a distant second to Charles Henderson in terms of his positive impact on the community – even without having to mention that Henderson left a considerable fortune which built most of the schools and continues to finance the Child Health Center.

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  4. barbender

    Is it any wonder Kenny Campbell gave the speech? 50 million in tax abatements must be awfully nice. Wonder what that (along with all the other property the Industrial Development Board owns) is costing the taxpayers?

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  5. BLOOD

    Good bye and best wishes to the mayor. I hope the new mayor continues the effort to decrease crime and drugs in the city. No time for resting…

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