You’ve got to admit it. Having a street, road or highway named after you is a pretty amazing honor and means you’ve gone out of your way for the community and done something entirely remarkable for lots of people.
It’s something that makes your family smile every time they drive past the sign and something that the honoree can be proud of and humbled by whether they’re still living or have passed on.
This past Thursday the Clay County Board of Supervisors realized that a great way to honor and remember Senator Bennie Turner and State Representative David Gibbs is to ask legislators and the Mississippi Department of Transportation to rename a portion of Highway 45 Alternate after these two longtime leaders.
During their Thursday board meeting, District 5 Supervisor Floyd McKee made a motion for the board to pass a resolution asking MDOT to rename the strip of highway the Turner-Gibbs Memorial Highway. If approved by the state, the highway’s name will be changed in memory of Turner and Gibbs beginning at the Monroe-Clay line and ending at the Lowndes-Clay line.
McKee said the suggestion to rename the highway after the late statesmen was agreed upon by all five members of the board.
“I got with Shelton (Deanes, District 4 supervisor) and we thought that the highway should be named after somebody who is from the county and somebody who has done a lot of good deeds for the county,” McKee said. “We felt we should honor someone who has always worked to improve the lives of everyone in Clay County and wanted to make it a better community.”
Deanes said, “The work and service that David and Bennie did for our area, I just think it would be something that the community and their family needs to see. It’s a good recognition, and it’s not just for Clay County but whomever travels through Clay County will be able to see these guys names. They may not know the people but will remember their names. I think it’s just a blessing to have them serve our area that long.”
Now that the county board has passed their resolution members of the West Point Board of Mayor and Selectmen will be asked to do the same.
But Mike Tagert, Northern District Transportation Commissioner, said getting the highway renamed doesn’t require a resolution and doesn’t require any action from the city board. The only required action is for the county to put in their request to its state representative and state senator, who would then write a bill asking the legislature for the highway name change. From there MDOT would manage the process of naming the highway if the bill is signed into law.
“It’s a legislative action and we do what the legislation dictates,” Tagert said. “We’re certainly not opposed to it and feel it certainly would be an appropriate action for those two leaders. When the bill comes out we then look through and make sure that portion of highway is not already named for someone else. We make sure there’s not an overlap.”
Clay County District 3 Supervisor R.B. Davis said renaming a portion of Highway 45 Alternate after Turner and Gibbs is the least the county can do for the decades of public service they provided not only to Clay County but surrounding counties.
“It’s a very complimentary thing for those two people who have put so much time and effort into bettering our community, and its just an appreciation of their work,” Davis said. “It’s really nice and an honor to have people think about you in that way.”