Thursday, February 12, 2009
Longtime officials not running for reelection
By LINDA JONES
“I am an official Byhalian! I was born here and have lived here all my life,” Bob Carrington said proudly.
Carrington, who first became a Byhalia alderman in July 1969, is retiring from political life this year.
“The Legislature said that no bankers, etc., could be aldermen, so I filled someone’s unexpired term,” he said about his start in public service. “I served as an elected alderman the first time until June 1985.”
Carrington has served as Byhalia alderman for a total of 30 years.
He is a graduate of Byhalia High School and Ole Miss. His first job was with Hooker Chemical as a field credit representative. Then he went into sales with Monkey Grip Rubber Company, traveling five and a half states and 5,000 miles a month.
Traveling like that is very hard on a man and automobiles, so in 1970 Carrington went to work as an independent insurance agent at Greer and White Insurance in Holly Springs, with A.Q. Greer and Sam White. He became part owner in 1978, after White passed away. Carrington has now been with Greer and White for 39 years.
A lifelong member of Byhalia United Methodist Church, Carrington and his wife Bettye (Weeks) married in 1971. They have two children, Chad, who lives in Byhalia and works with Dempsey Corp.; and Emery, a copy editor at the Sun Herald in Biloxi. They have two grandchildren, Kaleigh and Anna Carrington.
“I’ve seen Byhalia grow from a night watchman to a complete police department. Our main project at one time was to make sure every street was paved,” he said.
Carrington was 26 when he started on the Byhalia board of aldermen; the mayor was Dudley Moore Jr.
“Our starting pay was $10 a month. After about two terms, a fellow alderman, who will remain anonymous, and I decided we needed a raise,” Carrington said laughing.
“Dudley Moore vetoed that. He said we were not worth it, not in that position. We weren’t working for money, we were in there for the good of Byhalia.
“I never mentioned money again. The ‘master’ had spoken and when he spoke, we listened! I learned a lot from him,” Carrington said.
He has seen a lot of good times and a lot of sad times and feels like the position of alderman is a service to his community and county.
“What really excites me now is seeing our part of the county sitting in a place of growth that will benefit everyone. And the thing that is coming to pass…
“A dear friend and college fraternity brother, Trent Lott, in 1991 when President Clinton proposed a highway from Canada to Mexico (the I-69 corridor) was all for it. In a meeting with Trent in 1992 I said I wanted 69 to come through Marshall County. Trent said – we’ll do it!
“That all is coming to pass and it’s exciting to me to see it!” Carrington said. “It’s going to be a big boom to our county and community.”
With all that’s coming to pass in Byhalia, Carrington does feel he’s leaving office with two failures – one, getting a new post office for Byhalia and two, having a full time fire chief and an aerial truck. Both of those projects fell through the cracks in the economy.
“It’s not that anyone wasn’t with me. We just haven’t gotten those yet.
“There are a lot of caring people here, they care about each other. That helps make Byhalia great,” he said.
Carrington says now is the time for him to step down. There is a new generation coming up and it’s time for “the old goats” to let technology and this generation have their chance.
Thanks to Carrington and his generation, the new generation in Byhalia has a strong, solid base from which to continue to grow. And grow Byhalia will.
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