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|An example to follow...|
William Shakespeare wrote "The evil that men do lives after them; the good is oft interred with their bones." Such was not the case with Jack Hammons.
If the way the Winnsboro and beyond rallied around Mayor Jack, as he was lovingly known, over the last few weeks is any indication, the good he did will live long after him.
The goodness of this community was almost tangible as I attended his funeral Monday and heard the heart felt tributes to the man who left a deep footprint in the place he called home.
At the service, I felt a twinge of sorrow for myself for not having gotten the chance to know the man better. I had only been at The Franklin Sun a little over a month when the sad news came that Mayor Jack had cancer. While we all hoped for the best, the outlook was grim. Even so, I didn't think he would leave so soon.
I can only remember one conversation with the man whom many who read this were fortunate to know much, much better. I called him on the telephone a week before he was to qualify for the mayoral election coming later this month and asked him if he was going to run again. Rather sheepishly, he said, "That's the plan."
I didn't know at the time, but later came to understand that his modesty was a trademark. It's a rarity in public officials to not have a large ego to match their office, so Mayor Jack threw me off my game a little.We spoke some about why he would like to remain mayor and he told me it was because he felt he still had work to do.
Sadly, his work is now done, but I feel the modest man I spoke with might have been a bit surprised you discover just how well all of you felt he did his job.
A few days after I spoke with him, he discovered he had cancer and decided not to qualify. Given his standing in Winnsboro, it would have been nice to talk to him some over the last few weeks about the men who threw their hats in the ring in the race to succeed him. We at The Franklin Sun, however, felt it was only right to give the mayor and his family some privacy and not trouble them with politics. They had much more important things.
Politics can be an ugly game, but it doesn't have to be if it's played by men like Jack Hammons. His greatest legacy, perhaps, is the faith he helped foster in Winnsboro that a good man can make a difference. It's easy to become jaded about politicians and with good reason. There are many among them that forget that a public servant is just that — a servant of the public. It's certain Mayor Jack never forgot, just as it's certain those he served will never forget him.
Now there are four others who are running to replace the man who was Winnsboro's mayor for the last 12 years. I know them all and each one has talents that could be put to good use if properly applied when one of them becomes mayor.
Soon, one of them will have big shoes to fill. Like Mayor Hammons, the people of Winnsboro are kind and fair. They won't expect the next man to be him, but they will expect good government.
The next mayor of Winnsboro would do well to try to walk in the footsteps of the last man who held the job.