GARLAND — With the help of family members, town leaders and a judge, several community leaders placed their hands on Bibles to began a new era of leadership.
Four community members took the oath of office Tuesday night inside a packed town hall. Two of them are new to the Garland Board of Commissioner.
Austin Brown was sworn in as the youngest commissioner in Garland’s history. The 22-year-old thanked the 177 people who voted and put their trust in him. As a town leader, some of his goals are to upgrade infrastructure in Garland and improve buildings. After the election, another goal was to continue the progress on Curtis D. Cain Memorial Park — a town addition which officially opened in the summer.
“For those who didn’t, by the end of my term, I hope to have gained your support,” Brown said. “I look forward to working for each and every one of you.”
Brown is a Union High School graduate and previously worked for Garland’s public works department. His service also includes time with the Garland Volunteer Fire Department.
Commissioner Eddie Bronson Jr. was next up and took the oath with assistance of family and District Court Judge Carol Wilson. He brings more than 20 years of law enforcement experience to the board. After receiving enough votes to become a commissioner, Bronson said his goals was to help with public safety and recreation.
“I would like to thank my supporters and I will do the best I can …,”Bronson said.
Longtime Commissioner S.J. Smith was sworn in for another four-year term following an election in November. During his years on the the board, he volunteered and helped with many infrastructure projects to improve the quality of life for residents.
“I’ll continue to serve you to the best of my ability,” Smith said. “Thank you.”
Wilson continued to assist with the ceremony by swearing in Mayor Winifred Murphy for a two-year term. Murphy was joined by her family.
“Board members, we are here tonight beginning on the next two years of Garland leadership,” Murphy said “We are together charged with providing responsible leadership and blessed to lead with vision, with courage, with wisdom, with compassion, with respect, and with solidarity. Citizens, I accept this charge with sincere intentions.”
Following Murphy’s remarks, Commissioner Ralph Smith was sworn in as the mayor pro tem. He thanked his supporters and his colleagues for the decision.
“I would thank y’all for having enough confidence in me,” Smith said. “It’s truly an honor and I would like to thank all the people who voted and trusted in me over the past years.”
The mayor pro tem position was previously held by former commissioner Haywood Johnson, who did not return after an unsuccessful attempt to become mayor. Carolyn Melvin was the other commissioner replaced by the new Brown and Bronson.
Tuesday’s ceremony also included recognition awards and prayers by the Rev. Danny Rich of Seed Time Church and the Rev. Louie Boykin of Baldwin Branch Missionary Baptist Church.
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