A Pike County town is preparing to say goodbye to its longtime mayor, as he retires after three decades. Troy Mayor Jimmy Lunsford is stepping down after 30 years in public service, and now people in the community are looking back at his contributions to Troy.
As he packs up his office, Jimmy Lunsford says he's proud of his accomplishments, whether that's helping grow Troy's population by 6,000 people in 30 years, or bringing new businesses to town. Now, he says, just seems like the right time to retire. "I said, you know, we're kind of on top, this is a great time for me to say, okay, I think i'm going to let the younger guys come in and do something."
Lunsford says his biggest achievement is helping grow Troy's economy, but still keeping its small town charm. "I'm just as proud of the Lockheed Martins and the Sikorsys and the CGIs and the Goldenboys we've recruited from out of state, but I'm even more proud of the KW Plastics, the Hendricks Company, the local people."
That's a commitment local business owners say they've come to count on. "The city and the mayor as a whole have just gone after new business, they're very business friendly here, they attract new businesses which is always good for existing businesses," said Shear Qualls, whose family has owned Douglas Brothers Jewelry downtown for 140 years.
Fellow Mayor Jimmy Ramage of Brundidge has known Lunsford for 50 years. He says Lunsford's legacy stretches beyond the city limits of Troy, because of his willigness to build up all the communities in Pike County.
"That's not done in every community, I assure you. The mayor of the larger city with multiple resources reaching out to the other communities with less resources to make sure they're included," said Ramage, calling inclusiveness Lunsford's greatest legacy.
Lunsford says he has mixed feelings about leaving office, but now, he's ready to spend a lot more time with his family. "I''m really looking forward to free weekends, I'm looking forward to being able to pick up and go somewhere if I want to, these are the kinds of things I'd like to do," he said. However, he says he wants to stay involved in community affairs, on an advisory basis.
Lunsford officially retires on the last day of October. His successor, Jason Reeves, will be sworn in on November 5th.