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Ceremony honors Furlow

Jimmy Furlow would have been honored, but he wouldn’t havewanted all that attention.

That was the sentiment expressed by everyone who knew the lateBrookhaven Departmental Coordinator at Monday’s ribbon cutting forthe Jimmy Furlow Senior Citizen Center. The center that bears hisname is situated on First Street between the First Baptist Churchand the Lincoln County / Brookhaven Government Complex.

“He loved church, and he loved the city, and the center is rightin between,” said his wife, Sheila Furlow, during the ceremony thatwas held at the new facility.

A large group overflowed the center’s biggest room Monday forthe dedication. And for those that were there to celebrate the newfacility, there were as many who were there to honor Furlowhimself.

“I love it,” said former Mayor Bob Massengill. “I’m thrilled andtouched to see this come to fruition.”

Furlow, who died in an equipment accident at the city landfillin 2005, was much beloved by everyone who knew him, friends andfamily said. He started his work with the city as a firefighter in1972, working his way up to captain before transferring into thewater department. He also served as traffic director and assistantwater superintendent before becoming the developmentalcoordinator.

Former First Baptist Church youth minister Mike Brister, likeeveryone else, pointed to Furlow’s humility and servanthood when hespoke to the group about the man so many people love and miss.

“Jimmy is looking down at us now saying, ‘I wish y’all wouldhush,'” he said with a laugh. “But Jimmy, we love you, and youdeserve every bit of this, my friend.”

And Recreation Department Director Terry Reid said in additionto the fact that the center falls under the direction of hisdepartment, the official launch is a big deal to him because ithonors his old friend as well.

“I want to thank everyone who was a part of this. Jimmy was myfriend, and everyone knows how Jimmy and I were,” he said. “Thismeans a lot to me.”

Meanwhile, Furlow’s children Adam and Kayla were in attendanceas well. Both said the event marks a special day for theirfamily.

“I don’t think he’d want all this attention,” Adam Furlow said.”But I think he’d be glad to have a place they can come and get outof the house, and where they’d have something to do.”

Kayla Furlow echoed her brother’s sentiment.

“I’m just proud the community still remembers my dad,” she said.”I think he’d be real honored, and real thankful for everything,but he’d wish they hadn’t done so much for him. He’d wish he hadmore he could do for other people.”

And Sheila Furlow said naming a senior citizens center after herhusband is absolutely fitting, since he was always glad to learnsomething from his elders.

“He talked about how on Sunday people needed to visit theirgrandparents and sit on the porch and drink iced tea and be afamily,” she said. “He loved talking to older people and listeningto their wisdom. Even as he got older, he was always listening tothem.”

Sheila Furlow said she hoped that her husband would long beremembered not only because his name is on the center, but becauseof the man he was.

“This is a great legacy for them (senior citizens), and for ourchildren and grandchildren,” she said. “I hope that people willsay, ‘Who is Jimmy Furlow?’ and I hope it will be an inspiration topeople to value their families and their community.”

Meanwhile when computer classes start at the center, there arealready 55 senior citizens signed up to take part in them. CenterDirector Nancy Ray said the attendance at the ribbon cutting is agood indicator that the center will be quite a success.

“I’m impressed with the turnout, it shows how much this towncares about Jimmy Furlow and his family,” she said. “I hope to seethis kind of participation in the future.”

And city officials were also excited about the grand opening,said Mayor Les Bumgarner.

“It’s going to be a tremendous boost for senior citizens and forit to be named for Jimmy is perfect,” he said. “He meant a lot tothe city, and the seniors mean a lot to the city. We’re excited.The sky’s the limit.”