On Nov. 6 the county bid farewell to a loyal servant, County Commissioner Bevin Putnal, who attended his last meeting,
Putnal, who first took office on Nov. 16, 1992, took time to personally thank each department head for their help and service over the years.
“It’s been a pleasure serving with this board,” he said. “It’s kind of like family. You’re gonna fuss and fight but you come together to solve other people’s problems. I didn’t run for county commissioner for my own ambitions. I ran for people’s problems.
“I always figured myself as a servant, and not as a ruler. The greatest and strongest person that ever lived on this Earth could have ruled over anything that come against him he wanted but he became a servant of all the people out there that needed him and that was Jesus Christ. He went to the cross for people’s sake. His only ambition, from the time he was born until he was put to death, was to do his father’s will.
“I figure that I’m kind of like that in doing the people’s will,” said Putnal. “If they wanted something, I tried my level best to do it. I felt privileged to be there when somebody needed my help. I’ll still be there if they need me I just won’t have the authority I had before.”
Putnal told County Planner Alan Pierce, “I want to thank you for being there all those years for me ‘cause I had somebody I could dump problems on that I couldn’t solve. You always seemed to take them without regret.”
“Commissioner I appreciate that,” Pierce replied. “I’m not sure we solved all of them but we made our best effort. We appreciate you. You were here a long time and you were always very stable and we knew we could count on you to do the right thing.”
Putnal praised County Attorney Michael Shuler’s work on the county’s behalf. “I want to make sure I appreciate you keeping us out of the courtroom,” he said. “It’s hard to make decisions up here legally when you’re trying to help people and sometimes you can’t because it’s against the law. You always kept me on the straight and narrow path.”
“Mr. Putnal we appreciate you,” said Shuler. “You’ve always led us by example and by prayer and it’s an example I intend following myself in the future.”
“I would just like to say that it’s been a pleasure serving with this board,’ said Putnal.
Chairman Pinki Jackel said, “Commissioner Putnal, it’s been my honor and privilege to serve with you as county commissioner. This county loves you. This board loves you and all the county workers admire and respect you. You began an era here. You’ve had a helpmate all these years and we want to recognize Miss Patsy this morning as well because you don’t go these roads alone.”
Jackel asked Patsy Putnal and other family members to come forward. Putnal said his wife had “Really my mentor and my secretary. She always kept me on the ball.”
Patsy and son Rusty came to the podium along with several younger members of the Putnal clan. Bevin Putnal indicated a great-grandson and told the commission, “Me and him’s going hunting.”
Jackel presented Putnal with a plaque praising his service to the people. It read, “Your leadership and loyalty will always be remembered” and looked forward to “new beginnings and happy memories.”
Commissioner Noah Lockley said, “It’s been an honor and a privilege to serve with you for these last eight years.” Commissioner Smokey Parrish told Putnal, “There ain’t much to say but what’s on that plaque. I wish you the best and a successful hunting season.”
Jackel commented she had saved the best for last when she turned the floor over to Commissioner Cheryl Sanders.
A tearful Sanders said, “He’s been my left-hand man for 15 years. I’m happy for them but at the same time, I’m sad. When I first came on the board he was here with Jimmy Mosconis and they broke me in well. He’s been at my left hand for, at the next board meeting it will be 15 years
My favorite quote that he’s always made is this, ‘In the beginning God made a perfect environment to grow oysters here in Apalachicola Bay.’
While it’s sad, I’m happy he’s living and he can take care of his grandchildren and they won’t have to wait on answering the phone 15 or 20 times a day.
This man has been my left hand and I’m gonna really, really miss him.”