GOOD HOPE, Ga. — Jimmy Guthrie hadn’t planned to be a former mayor at this point.
No one ran against him in the fall as he sought a third term in Good Hope. But he had to give up the position last month due to health concerns, saying farewell to a city government he’s served for years — first on City Council and then as mayor.
Thursday night, though, he was back at City Hall as the guest of honor for a brief reception.
“He’s been such a phenomenal force in our community,” Mayor Pro Tem David Mullis, who’s been serving as the interim mayor, said.
Guthrie’s predecessor, Randy Garrett, paid tribute to Guthrie’s dedication and character.
“A lot of times we do the right thing but it’s for the wrong reasons,” Garrett said. “It’s to set ourselves for up for something we may not be.
“But Mayor Guthrie has done everything in office for the right reasons. He’s never delved into politics. He’s always been a statesman.
“Jimmy, we are going to miss you at the helm of the city, but I know you’re leaving it in a great position.”
Garrett then read a proclamation from the state House, which Rep. Bruce Williamson of Monroe sponsored last week.
The resolution noted Guthrie’s servant leadership, including coordinating special purpose local option sales tax funds to repair City Hall and improve local parks, transportation and public safety; help organize activities such as the Good Hope Poppy Festival and events to celebrate Walton County’s Bicentennial in 2018; and to work with Sheriff Joe Chapman on the establishment of a sheriff’s precinct in the town last year.
In front of his family and former colleagues, Guthrie was moved by the honor.
“This is the thrill of my life right here, to be recognized by my peers,” he said. “I have enjoyed serving the people of Good Hope, and the United States too, being in the Navy.
“I’m surrounded by people that love and care for this community, and love and care for each other.”
Guthrie recalled Garrett as being “a great inspiration” from his work as mayor, as they sat side by side at monthly city meetings.
“I love this community, I love y’all, and thank you for everything that you’ve done for me and are still doing for me,” Guthrie said, “and I just want you to know how much I appreciate it and love you.”