CLARKSVILLE CITY— Clarksville City Mayor Larry Allen said he was 8 years old when Basil Dollins was first elected to the City Council by voters in this tiny Gregg County town.
Allen and other council members, as well as family and friends honored Dollins, 89, on Wednesday for his 52 years as mayor pro tem in Clarksville City.
Dollins retired Tuesday night, said City Manager Billy Silvertooth.
“He’s left a legacy here,” said City Secretary Sandra Thur. “He’s a very sweet man, and we are all going to miss him.”
Silvertooth said Dollins was a driving force behind several important developments in the town. Silvertooth said Dollins helped implement a water well system in 2006 and a waste water treatment plant in January.
Dollins was escorted to his reception by a fire truck. His grandson, Derek Zivney, is the fire chief for the Clarksville-Warren City Volunteer Fire Department.
Thirteen years ago, Dollins served on the executive board which formed the department, Silvertooth said.
“For a man to spend 52 years with one city, that’s amazing,” Allen said. “He’s brought the city a long ways. He’s a good man, and he’s worked hard for the city.”
For his service, Dollins received a national certificate of appreciation and was presented a flag that had been flown at the U.S. Capitol in Washington, D.C. Joanna Fitzgerald, liaison for U.S. Rep. Louie Gohmert, R.-Tyler, presented Dollins with the items.
Men from the D.E.A.R. Unit in White Oak serenaded Dollins with songs “Courageous” and “World’s Greatest.”
Jimmie, Dollins’ wife of 62 years, was emotional about the recognition given to her husband.
“Everybody’s so great in this community and for them to be here it means a lot,” she said. “We’re all friends.”
Allen said the city has not named a replacement for Dollins.
“We’re going to look for a replacement,” he said. “You can always put somebody in the chair but it’s going to be hard to replace somebody with 52 years of experience.”