On Sunday afternoon, Jim Welsh, the beloved voice of Lanark Village, celebrated his 79th birthday at the Lanark Village Boat Club, surrounded by friends.

Welsh moved to Franklin County in 1982 and has provided the Times’ Lanark News column for more than 30 years.

In his column, Welsh frequently thanks the volunteers who keep so many local services running smoothly. Although modesty prevents him from self-congratulation, he sets a shining example for other county citizens with his own hard work.

Since arriving in Franklin County from St. Louis, Missouri, Welsh has served on numerous boards and acted as a faithful volunteer for his community.

He was the first vice-commander of the Lanark Village Boat Club from1985 to 87; president of the Lanark Village Association in 1991; president of the Yaupon Garden Club from 1996 to 98; and a charter member of the Panhandle Players and its president from 1991 to 93.

He is active in the Knights of Columbus and served as district deputy from 1990 to 97. He also calls bingo at Chillas Hall every Wednesday evening and works hard to promote village activities.

Unknown to many, Welsh was instrumental in upgrading telephone service to the east end of the county in the 1980s.

“I’m one who likes to go to a meeting and get things done instead of sitting there passing things on to the next meeting,” Welsh said.

A retired bookkeeper, after arriving in the county he was bookkeeper at the Lodge at Wakulla Springs State Park from 1988 until his final retirement in 2000.

George Briesacker, 76, and Ricky Beatie, 60, also celebrated their birthdays at the New Year’s luncheon on Sunday, which was attended by about 50 people.