What Makes Ronnie Roll: Such A Special Week

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner

We were celebrating the fact that we had gotten through a deep freeze, flash floods, storms, and now we had much-welcomed sunshine. The sun came just in time, and so many things were waiting in the wings besides budgets and infra-structure issues to happily vie for our attention. That being said, Mayor Ronnie and our city council team are preparing to go back to the bond market to make it possible for connectivity to continue building the quality of life in Athens. “We gotta keep moving forward,” he said.

The 8-year-olds that were part of the Parks & Rec soccer team won their championship, and for them it was like winning the Olympics. Mayor Ronnie said further, “The Athens High School Cheer Team just won the NATIONAL championship last night!” “Whoa!” was the only thing I could say. He showed me a picture of the happy group and said, “They’ll get home today.” Privately, I wondered if we should have a parade, but there was one already fixin’ to happen, and that was the Mardi Gras parade on Tuesday night. Gail Bergeron, who taught art for years at Athens State University is a native of New Orleans. She brought the Mardi Gras parade to Athens a few years back, and it has grown every year. Our particular parade has a precious twist. The “floats” are wagons and shopping carts that are decorated, and all of the wagons and carts were ready to deliver canned goods to Limestone County Churches Involved (LCCI). It was also the first time in about a century that Mardi Gras, Valentine’s Day, and Ash Wednesday were within 24 hours of each other.

There had been a Night to Shine “prom” for the North Alabama special needs community, and all 261 of the participants had been personally crowned. Mayor Ronnie crowned the guys, and he wasn’t completely sure how many that had been, and by the smile on his face I could tell he had most definitely enjoyed the opportunity to do so. He showed me the video of people dancing and doing a conga line, and the joy on the faces inspired hope. The event was sponsored by Refuge Church under the leadership of Pastor Jason Parks and the Tim Tebow Foundation

As it pertained further to hope, Holly Hollman was busy working on one of the first Relay for Life projects of 2024, and that was making goodie bags both for those battling cancer as well as their caregivers. The bags had snacks to eat while treatments were being administered. There were lotions because skin gets so dry, personal items, notepads, and more.

Finally, a most unusual celebration was coming up, and that was the 100th birthday of Venita Stith. Holly Hollman, Communications Director for the City of Athens had the following to say on Wednesday about the happy event:

When 100-year-old Venita Stith blew out the candles on her Eiffel Tower birthday cake today, she made a wish to visit Paris. Then she added she wished she could get to Paris as easily as she blew out her candles. Family said she got to visit Paris briefly many years ago, but she has always wanted to go and stay for an extended trip. Residents at The Goldton at Athens, family, and friends helped her celebrate her birthday milestone with a Paris theme, and Mayor Marks presented her with a certificate and key to the City of Athens.

“We live in a wonderful town, and it is a very special week,” said the mayor. I smiled in agreement, and there was only one thing left to do, and that was to pray. So we did, and once again it was time for Ronnie to roll.

By: Ali Elizabeth Turner