Walker leads tree lighting

Published 9:48 am Wednesday, December 5, 2018

The Town of Charlotte Court House held their 31st annual Christmas Tree Lighting Ceremony this past weekend on the lawn of the Historic Charlotte County Courthouse.

The event opened with a welcome by longtime Mayor of Charlotte Court House Stephen Walker.

Charlotte Court House Mayor Stephen
Walker welcomed the crowd
during the lighting ceremony. The
event served as the last official activity
for Walker before his departure
as Mayor.

Walker also celebrated the tree lighting as his last major event serving in capacity as Mayor after 16 years.

He has 20 years of total service within the Town of Charlotte Court House.

“It has been 20 years and I put a self-imposed term limit on myself and so this is kind of my last official activity and probably one of the best that we get to do each and every year …” said Walker.

The Eureka Elementary School Choir provided music for the evening.

In addition, Walker invited incoming Mayor Doza Watkins to speak.

“He is the 10th Mayor to serve the town since 1930,” said Watkins, referring to Mayor Walker.

He was elected to the Town Council in 1998 and served as a council member for four years. Watkins said Walker was elected Mayor in 2002 and served in that role for the last 16 years.

“31 years of growth on that tree has made it a different task to decorate …” joked Watkins.

He said under the Mayorship of Walker, the Town applied for and received millions of dollars in grant money from Virginia Department of Health, the U.S. Department of Agriculture, the Virginia Department of Transportation and the Southeast Rural Commonwealth Assistance Program.

Watkins said for the size of the town, funds are tight and grants are necessary.

He said some of the grants were used for projects such as three sidewalk projects.

“The town was initially turned down for the funding to build that sidewalk,” said Watkins, referring to a sidewalk project in the Town of Charlotte Court House on Highway 40. “We found out Mayor Walker took it upon himself to attend a public hearing of the Commonwealth Transportation Board. At that hearing, he was the last to speak out of 25 … he was able to get them to change their minds and fund the construction of the new sidewalk.”

He said most of the antiquated water lines have been replaced, a new well was installed and water towers were replaced/repaired under the leadership of Walker.

“We are grateful for the leadership of Stephen, provided by his representation of the town to these meetings to obtain these grants. Twenty years of service is a long time and we extend our well wishes and appreciation …” said Watkins.

Walker said he appreciated the kind words and he could only do what the governing body allowed him to do and he thanked those he served with and those in the community.

Walker said there is a lot to be thankful for in the small community.

“It’s not a single person among us who can’t reach out and find a friend in our time of need. We can find a church when we need comforting and prayer, we can find a ride if our vehicle is wayward. There’s lots of reasons that people leave this community but there’s one in which we always return back to it and that’s because the love of a small town infiltrates all of us and has for a long time …” he said.

Walker said Charlotte Court House is his home, was his grandparents home, their parents home and he can’t imagine living anywhere else.

“… it has been my pleasure to serve it over the last 20 years and I thank you all for being a part of this and making this truly a joyous and merry Christmas …” he said.