Thursday, November 4, 2010
Respect for Mr. Minor
Marshall County lost one of its most influential people Monday.
I got the call that morning. I was shocked. I even had to ask two or three times – “Bill Minor? Are you talking about Bill Minor – from Holly Springs – the transportation commissioner?”
William “Bill” Minor died at Biloxi Regional Hospital after being rushed there with serious heart problems, according to press reports. He was on the Mississippi Gulf Coast attending the annual meeting of the American Association of State Highway Transportation Officials at the Beau Rivage.
I met Mr. Minor (that’s what I called him) several years ago when I was editor of the newspaper in Aberdeen and he was serving as state senator. I remember that first meeting well. He never met a stranger. He made me feel like we’d been acquaintances for a long time.
He did not represent that county (Monroe) as state senator, but he still said, “Let me know if I can help.”
I got to know him better just over nine years ago when I moved to Holly Springs to take over the leadership of this newspaper.
He always had time for me. When I would call him about information for a story or about advertising, he would almost always answer that cell phone – no matter if he was in Holly Springs, Tupelo, Jackson or out of the state.
I would say, “Mr. Minor, is this a good time for you?”
He would always reply, “Yes - go ahead.”
And I’m quite sure that many of those times he was extremely busy. But he always took time for me.
And if he happened not to answer his cell phone when I called, he would always call me back – within minutes.
He was an elected official who was available, and as a newspaper editor, I very much appreciated that about him.
Like I told the staff here at the office Monday morning, when we were getting phone calls and e-mails about Mr. Minor, I can never remember him saying “no” when we asked him about advertising – from sports pages to church page to special sections. He supported his hometown newspaper.
He loved Holly Springs, Marshall County, Benton County, north Mississippi and the state as a whole. He made us proud, and we proudly called him one of our own.
In an Associated Press story released Monday, Warner McBride, chairman of the House Transportation Committee, said Minor was a man of integrity who kept his word when he made promises.
“He really knew how government works and was always interested in getting results,” McBride said. “He was interested in making things happen that would help Mississippians.”
I also knew if I needed a quote or information for a story from Mr. Minor early in the morning, I could likely walk the short distance from my office to JB’s restaurant on the square and get a comment while he ate with his breakfast buddies.
Taking notes while Mr. Minor talked very rapidly could be tough, and I told him so, and we laughed together. He’d respond if I called him for clarification, and he never, ever questioned the accuracy of one of my stories.
I’ve dealt with tons of elected officials during my 26 years in the newspaper business. None did I like better or respect more than Mr. Minor.
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