Williamstown City Council honors former mayor Jean Ford
WILLIAMSTOWN — Williamstown City Council and a multitude of community members met Tuesday to honor former Mayor Jean Ford, who served the city of Williamstown for 23 years and was the first female mayor of Williamstown.
According to current Mayor Paul Jordan, who presented Ford with a certificate of honor, Ford created a lasting impact for the city and left her mark through several key milestones as both a council member first and then mayor.
From 1997 through 2020, Ford was responsible for the attainment of $60,000 in grants for the water department and $25,000 in grants to update Tomlinson Park.
Several other major contributions during her tenure included her role in the creation of the West Virginia Welcome Center in Williamstown, the creation of the round-about, the establishment of the new Williamstown Elementary School, the creation of the Williamstown Healthy Lifestyle Pool and the attraction of businesses to the area, such as Hino Motors.
“There’s three ingredients to this,” Ford said as she addressed council and the community. “Blessings from above, the second is love and the third one is caring for people, that is the only reason I became mayor of Williamstown … because I thought I could make a difference.”
Ford thanked Williamstown City Council, her family and the community at large for all of their support.
“All of these people have just made everything possible, and without them there is no town,” Ford said. “When you care, things happen, and we embrace the town with caring and love.”
Vienna Mayor Randy Rapp, Parkersburg Mayor Tom Joyce and Belpre Mayor Michael Lorentz were also present to honor Ford for the years they worked alongside her.
“If someone asked me to say what I think of Jean Ford other than her dedication, the word ‘class’ says it all,” Rapp said. “Anything she does, she does it right, and I think if you are a friend of Jean Ford’s, you are a friend for life.”
Different memories were brought up by Ford about her time as mayor, from how she handled the disaster relief needs of Williamstown during the derecho storm in 2012 to her donating part of her annual paycheck when she was first elected, which was $400, to support the Williamstown Fire Department.
“We were like a family,” council member Marty Seufer said. “It was nice working with a friend.”
In other business at Tuesday’s Williamstown City Council meeting:
∫ A proclamation issued by Jordan was unanimously approved by council to declare June 21 through June 25 Pollinator Week, as Williamstown is the only affiliate of Bee City USA in West Virginia.
∫ An Alzheimer’s Association Walk will be held Sept. 18 at Tomlinson Park, with registration starting at 8:30 a.m. and more information will be released at a later time.
∫ Two bids were proposed to council for the construction of a new slide toy in Tomlinson Park, and council unanimously approved to have Parks Director Norm Harris review and create a recommendation to council.
∫ Council unanimously approved the formal naming of the Williamstown Christmas Parade to be “The Jim Parker Night of Christmas Giving” in honor of former council member Jim Parker, who passed from complications due to COVID-19 in 2020.
∫ An ordinance was passed unanimously by council on first reading to move council meetings from 7:30 p.m. to 7 p.m. for the starting time.