City Council honors Barbara Blackmore
By Karen Hall
It was a very special night for the Lewisburg City Council Tuesday as they honored Lewisburg resident Barbara Blackmore, one of the founders (with Sandy Wakham) of Moms on a Mission. Mayor Jim Bingham gave her the Mayor's Award for Outstanding Volunteer Service, and Drew Davidson and Hundley Ford Sr. also made presentations.
Davidson described how he first met Blackmore.
"I rejoined the Methodist Church when Leland (Carden) was pastor," he said. "There was a woman in the choir pushing Moms on a Mission. She had a son in Iraq and I had a son in Iraq. Barb and her crew had put together care packages, including live cedar Christmas trees."
His son, David, now a full colonel, got one of the trees, and Davidson reported he was "shocked, amazed and thrilled."
"I've been on a mission to recognize and honor her all these years," he said. "Barbara is quite special. I thank her for being a citizen of this fine city."
"It's a pleasure to be here to represent the veterans," said VFW Post 5109 Commander Hundley L. Ford Sr. "It's always good to get a letter (from home), but to get a package is super."
Bingham read a thank-you letter from Sgt. David Hierholzer to Moms on a Mission, which was never mailed. Hierholzer died in Afghanistan in 2006, and the letter was found in his personal effects. His mother was unable to attend the meeting, but gave Bingham the letter to read.
"How proud we are of him," Bingham exclaimed, obviously moved by the letter, which has never been read in public before. "I'm glad I was able to share it with you."
"I'm not the only one who deserves this," said Blackmore when it was her turn to speak. "My helpers put in a lot of hours. We could not do it without our community. Now people look at me and think of our military -- that's awesome! We support our military and let them know their community supports them, too. Thank you so much; I appreciate everybody who came."
These included fellow members of the Joy Choir from the First United Methodist Church, former pastor Carden, and current pastor Mark Irvin.
Also recognized with a resolution at the City Council's meeting was Police Chief Chuck Forbis, who is now president of the Tennessee Association of Chiefs of Police.
Forbis has been in law enforcement for 33 years, six and a half of those with the City of Lewisburg.
"We're fortunate to have honored two people this evening," said Bingham.
After routine business, the meeting ended on an optimistic note when Director of Economic Development Greg Lowe gave his report.
Without telling any names, Lowe said one company was closing on the purchase of a building very soon, another might be signing a lease, and a third one might also be signing a lease.
Lowe and Mike Wiles went to a Job Fair at Ft. Campbell this week, trying to attract some of the 500-800 soldiers who are becoming available for civilian jobs and want to relocate within 100 miles of the base.
"Things are pretty good on the industrial side," Lowe said. "We're still working on retail projects."
The retail project which required Tax Increment Financing is "still a viable project," Lowe said, though it has dragged on for many months.
"There will be a lot of planning for this council to do," predicted Lowe.
He reported that applications for jobs at Imperial Foods would be at the Career Center in the next week or so, and the company hopes to be up and running in three weeks.
Meiwa will be in full production in October, Lowe said, and will be hiring 25 to 30 people.
Referring to report given by Wiles to a recent meeting of the Joint Economic and Community Development Board, Lowe said, "All of Mike's graphs were doing this (angling upward). That's what we want a graph to do!"
"We tell you all the time how much we appreciate you," said Bingham to Lowe as the meeting ended.