Former Bibb County Commissioner Elmo Richardson knows better than most the value of having a fire station near his home.
On Valentines Day in 1958, his parents house burned down because they lived outside the Macon city limits, and fire service was limited to volunteers. In 1977, the house that Richardson and his wife were building on Rivoli Drive was saved because a station was nearby.
So having Fire Station No. 109 off New Forsyth Road dedicated in his honor Monday carried special meeting for Richardson, who served as a commissioner for 10 years before deciding not to run again in 2012.
It was a big surprise, Richardson said. I really appreciate it, but its not something Id have expected. Ten years of service to Bibb County, Ill treasure it forever. Serving the people meant a lot.
Fire Station No. 109 opened in July and was paid for through special purpose local option sales tax funds.
Bibb County Commission Chairman Sam Hart noted that although Richardson served 10 years on the board, his contributions were such that it felt like 20 in terms of his value and usefulness to the commission.
Hes an engineer that we got a lot of free advice from, Hart said of Richardson. We relied on him quite a bit.
Hart said Richardson also became an expert on financial matters and served as chairman of the finance committee.
Its a small gesture to someone who has given so much to us, Hart said.
Commissioners Joe Allen, Lonzy Edwards, Bert Bivins and Gary Bechtel also spoke about Richardsons contributions at the event, as did Macon-Bibb County Fire Chief Marvin Riggins.
This is a very worthy tribute to a man who put a lot of energy into making this a reality, said Riggins, who noted it was Richardson who helped decide that the station would be located at its current site.
Edwards, who replaced Richardson as chairman of the countys Finance Committee, said he learned a great deal from his predecessor. He said no one was able to sneak even the smallest line item past Richardson.
I dont know of anyone who has served this community more faithfully, Edwards said.
To contact writer Phillip Ramati, call 744-4334.