Verona honors Billy West on his day
The Verona Board of Aldermen, along with family and friends, on Sunday honored one of its own for more than 28 years of dedicated service to the city.
William “Billy” West and his wife, Vi, were humbly awed as they greeted the guest and shared stories of interest and past experiences.
Billy is a native of Verona, born in 1929 to Clifford and Cecile West. He has been an asset to the city throughout his life. The mark he has made in the fabric of Verona will forever be visible. Thank you, Billy West.
Billy served on the Board of Aldermen longer than any other alderman in Verona’s history. He served 28 years spanning seven terms, six of them consecutive. He said he was “beat” once by one of his friends. He also served several terms as vice mayor. In his earlier terms, he worked for $1 per month, and at the end of the year, it was donated to the Red Cross. He was an alderman when Verona developed its first blacktopped street. Before he ever served on the board, he helped to install the first water system, working with a contractor out of Jackson.
West was instrumental in the completion of city hall, the police station and the original fire station. Verona’s first fire truck, purchased for a young fire chief named Bobby Williams, was approved during Billy’s time of service. Billy has always gone above and beyond his official duties as alderman and has offered his time, finances, and talents to the city as well. He and his wife donated the air system for the new Verona Fire Department and also donated the bed for the Verona fire rescue truck.
Billy and the late Ricky Gurley installed the tornado alarm system. He also built and installed the first flag pole.
Billy also served Verona in the private sector. His numerous businesses have always benefitted his home city. He has been an owner and operator of Verona Milling and Fertilizer. Both of these businesses aided the agricultural community in Verona’s early days. He and his wife opened the restaurant, “Bill and Vi’s,” where Tammy Wynette, the famous country music star, worked as a waitress in her pre-Nashville days. Later, he opened an automotive shop that eventually became West Wrecker Service, a company Billy and his two sons grew into a regionally recognized vehicle recovery service that covered the entire United States.
In the early ’90s Billy and his sons opened West, Inc., a body, welding and general mechanic shop which remains in operation today. All of Billy’s businesses were operated out of Verona.
Billy has given a lifetime to Verona and has accomplished may great things to benefit his hometown. Anyone who knows Billy understands that his accomplishments are not what he is most proud of. Billy is the essence of the family man. He and his wife Vi married in 1951 and they have three children. Tim, Joseph and Kathy, all of whom still call Lee County home. Billy and Vi have six grandchildren, and they play an integral part in each of their lives. His family and the lives of his family are his true prized possessions.
At 75, Billy and Vi are very active in community and civic affairs. They are members of First Baptist Church of Verona.
Raymond East Neighborhood Association
RENA will hold its monthly meeting at 6 p.m. Monday at the Verona City Hall. All members and concerned citizens are asked to attend.
Second Baptist Church
Morning worship services will begin at 8 a.m. Sunday.
Second Baptist will host the Springhill District Baptist Association Senior
Women Mission Union
Workshop on May 5. Registration will begin at 9 a.m., and session will
begin at 9:30 a.m. The seminar leaders will be Sis. Betty Thomas and Rev. Celester Davis. Church registration fee will
Verona and Palmetto United Methodist Churches will have a fifth Sunday Fellowship Meal at 6 p.m. Sunday at Verona. The youth and their leaders will present a program afterward.
The Verona UMC Park Committee and Board of Trustees are discussing plans for development of the Ben Bratton Memorial Park north of the church.
Thursday, May 3, is National Day of Prayer. All interested people are invited to Verona City Hall at 12:20 p.m. to offer prayers for our nation, state, city, etc.
The Nora Coggin Circle will meet at the church at 1:30 p.m. on Monday, May 7.
Heartfelt sympathy to the families of: Joseph Pender Cobb, Capt. Victor O. “Dick” Johnson, Jr., Billy Joe Storey, Mary Louise Lyons, Jo Ann Clark, J. K. Estes and Jimmie Lee Baker
Margaret Baker is the Verona correspondent for Lee County Neighbors.