Jimmy Furlow defined the words volunteerism, dedication

Published 5:00 am Tuesday, April 19, 2005

“What was he doing running a bulldozer at the city dump?” Ashort pause and the question was answered with, “that was JimmyFurlow, getting things done, helping out where ever help wasneeded, always happy to lend a helping hand.”

There was rarely an event held in Brookhaven that thefingerprints of Jimmy Furlow could not be found. From the Ole BrookFestival to hanging Christmas decorations to pruning the treesalong downtown streets; from being part of city delegations to thestate capitol to standing knee deep in mud trying to fix a brokenwater main, Jimmy Furlow would be there. Be it the crack of dawn orlate at night, if something needed doing, Jimmy would be there -always with a smile on his face.

And it was not just city issues that he donated his time. Ifsomeone needed help and he knew about it, he was there. A story wasshared with me by a local fellow who had a 3,000 lb playhousesitting on a trailer in his yard. The individual had no way ofgetting the playhouse off the trailer. Jimmy found out and showedup with a forklift. Jimmy was one of those who would literally givethe shirt off his back to help someone in need.

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Then there is the Brookhaven Exchange Club. He loved the cluband dedicated untold hours to making the annual Exchange Club Faira success each year. His fingerprints are everywhere on that park.When you would see him on the first night of the fair you would seea big smile on his face. On the last night of the weeklong eventyou would see him – a bit weary – but the smile was just asbig.

Jimmy did not do any of this for the recognition. He did notcare about who got the credit he just want to get the job done. Hedid not have to get into the trenches for he was a department headand had employees to handle the job. He did not have to be on thatbulldozer but he was taking a rare day off on Friday – he andSheila were to go camping this weekend. But Jimmy was concernedthat everything be in order should the DEQ make an unexpected visitwhile he was off.

Dedication and volunteerism are two words that can be defined byhis name. His loss will be one that this community will not be ableto replace but his memory can be one of inspiration to each andevery one of us. In this day of me-me attitudes and lack ofpersonal responsibility for anything – it is the Jimmy Furlows ofthe world that we all need to aspire. Jimmy’s volunteerism shouldbe a high school course required of every child to study. With moreJimmys this world would be a better place.

He leaves a deep void in the lives of Sheila, Adam and Kayla. Heleaves a deep void in the lives of not only those that were luckyenough to call him a friend but to a whole community that benefitedfrom his efforts – but they too were his friends.

Polly Byrd may have put it best in the message she painted onthe wall of her restaurant Thursday afternoon, “Furlow we’re gonnamiss you!!”

Write to Bill Jacobs at P.O. Box 551, Brookhaven MS 39602,or send e-mail to bjacobs@dailyleader.com.