The effort to name a bridge after the world’s oldest person just miles from where she lived and taught school in Between was delayed last week by the Walton County Board of Commissioners.
While the effort has been tabled, county officials do plan on being able to make the bridge naming official at their August meeting, ahead of Besse Cooper’s 116th birthday. This will also fall in line with the timetable for completion of the bridge on New Hope Church Road over the Alcovy River, which is expected to be finished by the end of August.
At Tuesday’s commission meeting, District 1 Commissioner Clinton Ayers asked that the measure be tabled in no way to slight Cooper but to find a means to also honor veterans from the area.
“I have gotten a lot of input on this from residents, a lot of them veterans, and while this a great thing to do, we might need to also do something to recognize them,” Ayers said at the meeting, asking the measure be tabled so he and District 4 Commissioner Lamar Palmer, both veterans, can find a suitable means to also honor veterans from not only the area but also those throughout the county. “We should definitely name the bridge after Mrs. Cooper — that’s not a problem. But we had 31 Walton County residents who were killed in World War II and I don’t think we have done enough in this county to recognize them.”
Palmer and Ayers are considering a future project in the Between area be named to honor veterans of the county and are part of an effort in its infancy of erecting a fountain outside the government building dedicated to all veterans. The effort is a group of various civic groups who plan on working together to raise private funding for the project.