A lasting presence: Grayson names city boardroom after Phillips | New

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GRAYSON Grayson Mayor George Steele said it would never be the same as he walked into the town boardroom without the presence of his old friend Jim Phillips.

Phillips, he said, was always there and always ready to offer solid advice on any topic.

“I remember a few years ago when I first walked into this office, I learned that Jim Phillips was not someone to mess with, unless you were dealing with the truth, ”Steele said. “He just wanted the facts, and he wanted to make sure that what he was being told was the absolute truth. And as I thought about today, I thought to myself, “How wonderful would this country be if every reporter was like Jim Phillips?” When Jim Phillips spoke, you knew you were getting the truth.

Steele shared a memento at the ceremony dedicating the city boardroom as the Jim Phillips boardroom.

“When I first became mayor, Jim called me ‘Mayor Steele’ every time we spoke. I told him he didn’t have to call me that, that George was fine, ”Steele said. “And Jim told me that he would call me mayor while I was mayor, and if I was a good mayor, he would call me mayor after I left office. But he said if I was doing a bad job then he would call me George, ”Steele said. “He beat me in Heaven, and I suspect that when I meet him there, he’ll say hello George.”

“But we’ve all had such great memories and great experiences with Jim Phillips,” Steele said.

Steele remembers a time when he and the council were discussing spending $ 1.7 million to build a new fire department, and Phillips was told to build it.

“Once Jim said build it, I knew it was OK to go ahead,” Steele said. “I can’t think of anyone who more deserves the honor that we are giving today.”

Phillips’ seven-decade career began in 1947 when at the age of 13 he began sweeping the floors in Grayson Journal-Enquirer. It was there that he began his vocation and his passion for journalism, soon swapping his broom for a typewriter, and in every way typical of the energetic “little reporter”. He spent his teenage years chasing and writing stories, including a local story that made headlines in the magazine. Ashland Daily Independent.

His passion and concern for journalism translated into excitement, never arrogance, as he stressed that the story was “over the fold” which could easily be seen when the newspaper was. in the paper box or lay face up and underlined how important this is. was.

His name would later be perennially above the fold not only for his stories, but as the editor of the newspaper he began his career sweeping for.

“There wasn’t too much excitement coming back to that room without Jim Phillips being there,” Steele said. “There was something about him that was so vital to us that was missing. I discussed this with the board, and we were very much in favor of honoring this man and his service to the community by giving his name to something he had spent his entire career in. We want to dedicate this room to the legacy he left with the rest of us. I can’t walk into this room today and think that I can give other than the best that I have because of the man who lived in this house.

Steele said he couldn’t think of a better phrase than “The Voice of Reason” to describe Phillips.

“And boy, do we need this today,” he told those gathered. “We need this to stay here and run the business of the city. We need reason in everything we do.

And with that thought, and the hope that Phillips’ example will inspire others to do better every day, the town of Grayson has officially renamed its boardroom the Jim Phillips Conference Room.


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