It had been an emotional week, a changing of the guard, if you will. Vicky Dowd’s last day as the Mayor’s secretary was Friday, March 31st, and on the 30th several hundred people gathered at her retirement party. Athens City Councilman Jimmy Gill, who was so sadly taken from us a year ago, used to refer to Vicky as “L’il Red,” and her contribution to our city has been incalculable for decades. God bless you, Li’l Red; enjoy your retirement, and thank you from all of us! Before Vicky said “adieu,” she had spent several weeks getting long-time City Hall Clerk’s Office employee Kim Glaze up to speed as Kim prepared to become the new secretary. Mayor Ronnie had her come in for our usual Monday appointment. It was Kim’s first day and one for celebration. The weekend had been full of good things, which I will get to in a moment, but as we talked, I realized that in Kim I was experiencing something truly rare. She is someone who is a “home-town, home-grown, Athens, Sweet-Home-Alabama gal,” and all her life, all she wanted be someday was, as she said with a dear smile, “the secretary to the mayor.” All I could do was exclaim, “Really?!” I was thankful that he was temporarily on the phone when I realized that my outburst could have been misconstrued to mean something along the lines of, “Why would anyone ever want to do that, especially with Marks as mayor?” I meant no disrespect toward Wm. Ronnie Marks, I was just stunned that I was sitting at the table with someone who had set a goal long ago, worked hard toward achieving it, and now was literally living the dream. Fulfilling such a precise dream doesn’t happen very often, and I was impressed. Goal setting really DOES work, and Kim is the proof! For several years, Mayor Ronnie has been a part of the Unsung Heroes Scholarship project, and this past weekend was their annual banquet. In addition to celebrating scholarship funds raised for students, there are also a number of service awards given to deserving members of the community. The 2017 scholarship winners are Elsa Marin, Desi Fletcher Jr., Mantayvious Henderson, Shannon O’Neill, Olivia Breeding, Sierra Shores, Jordan Russell, and Bryan Smith. The total amount raised for scholarships through the generosity of churches, businesses, clubs, foundations, families and individuals was $4,211. The evening ended with live, toe-tapping music, but Mayor Ronnie’s day wasn’t over yet. It began with Coffee Call at the Vets’ Museum, and after the Unsung Heroes banquet, he went to the Courthouse to light the lights for the month of April, which is National Autism Awareness month. The color for Autism Awareness is bright blue, and that color will shine each night until the end of the month. On hand for the lighting was Todd Tomerlin who is active in the Autism community in Alabama and the father of a 17-year-old son, Gage, whose story is on the front page of this edition of Athens Now. It was Kim’s first day and a hoppin’ day for Mayor Ronnie and me, but we needed to take time to pray. So we did, and then it was time for Kim and Ronnie to roll. By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

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Athens Now Online 2019