By Ashley Graves
The Cullman Times
The inside of Fairview Town Hall tells it all ... well, some of it.
With old pictures and newspaper clippings hanging on the walls, Randall Shedd sat at the council table this week reminiscing on his 16 years as mayor of the town.
"There's certainly a lot of conversation pieces in here," Shedd said."
Shedd announced in January he wouldn't be seeking a fifth term in August's municipal election, saying Thursday, "it was time to pass the torch." Former council member Dale Seals will take over as mayor at the beginning of November.
"Its been the greatest honor in my life," Shedd said. "I leave very confident knowing I've got a good person continuing the plans we have, and I'm at peace with that. I've got full confidence in him."
During his tenure, Shedd said there were a lot of high and low points, but never was there a minute of trouble. One particular moment he said stands out in his mind was the burning of the school in 1999.
"We called that the centerpiece of our town," Shedd said. "While it was difficult to see, we were able to organize a meeting shortly after to reminisce about the school. There was tremendous unity, and we saw the same thing last year after the storm."
The columns of the school were able to be salvaged. Shedd kept them stored until it was decided upon to build a replica of the front of the school at the town's park on Welcome Road.
"I felt for those in the class of 2000 and 2001 because they didn't have a physical building, so we built that in their honor," Shedd said.
In addition, Shedd was also the one who coined the idea for the Veterans Pavilion, which is equipped with a 50-inch TV that continuously displays over 300 photos of past and present citizens who have given their time to the military.
While stepping aside from a position of many years is never easy, Shedd said knowing someone like Seals will be following in his footsteps makes it a lot easier to step away.
"It wasn't a tough decision. I knew it was the right time," he said.
Though he won't hold the title of mayor anymore, Shedd added he would still hold the position of director for the Council on Aging. In addition, with what little extra free time he will have, he said he and his wife Debbie plan to be at all of their 6-year-old grandson's functions. And who knows, maybe squeeze in a little travel time as well.
Seals and the town's new council held a reception Sunday to honor Shedd for all his years of service. It will take place from 2-4 p.m. at the Town Hall.
"They surprised me with this, and I appreciate them doing it," Shedd said.
*Ashley Graves can be reached by phone at 734-2131, ext. 225, or by email at firstname.lastname@example.org