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County, city name building, room for late administrator
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The Martinsville City Council and Henry County Board of Supervisors approved a joint resolution to rename the former Martinsville-Henry County Rescue Squad on Hooker Street “Summerlin Station.” Pictured are (from left) Supervisor H.G. Vaughn and Debra Buchanan; Councilmen Mark Stroud and Kimble Reynolds; Mayor Kim Adkins; Robin Summerlin, widow of Benny Summerlin; Councilman Gene Teague; Supervisors Chairman Jim Adams; Supervisor Tommy Slaughter; Councilman Danny Turner; and Supervisors Milton Kendall and Joe Bryant.
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Wednesday, September 26, 2012

By DEBBIE HALL - Bulletin Staff Writer

Henry County and Martinsville officials approved measures Tuesday to ensure that contributions made by the late Henry County administrator Benny Summerlin will be remembered in the future.

“Benny Summerlin served Henry County for 31 years. The impact he had on county government” and in the city will be felt for years, said Tim Hall, who became county administrator after Summerlin’s Aug. 15 death.

The Martinsville-Henry County community is better for Summerlin’s service, Iriswood District Supervisor Milton Kendall said minutes before the Henry County Board of Supervisors approved a joint resolution with Martinsville City Council to rename the former Martinsville-Henry County Rescue Squad on Hooker Street “Summerlin Station.”

Several city council members commended Summerlin after the council approved the resolution Tuesday.

“He always did what was best for the county ... but he also cared a lot for the city,” said Councilman Gene Teague. He described Summerlin as being a “straightforward, honest” man with a lot of integrity.

Summerlin was “a natural leader,” said Councilman Mark Stroud.

“I can’t say I always agreed with him (on issues), but I always respected him,” added Vice Mayor Kimble Reynolds Jr.

The supervisors also approved a motion to rename the first-floor meeting room of the Henry County Administration Building the “Summerlin Meeting Room.”

When presenting the sign bearing that phrase, board Chairman Jim Adams told Summerlin’s wife, Robin, that it is impossible to enter the board room “and not think about Benny.”

Robin Summerlin hung the plaque on the wall underneath the county seal.

Summerlin had served as county administrator for 10 years, and began his career in community service when he was in the eighth-grade by volunteering with what was then the Martinsville-Henry County Rescue Squad.

Kendall read the resolution, which stated in part that Summerlin had served as a role model and a mentor for many. It recognized Summerlin’s “lifelong dedication to the art of public service,” the resolution stated.

Robin Summerlin, supervisors and several county staff members also attended the city council meeting.

Both the supervisors and city council approved resolutions honoring the 65th anniversary of the Martinsville Speedway, a track which pre-dates NASCAR and has been a NASCAR-affiliated track longer than any other track in the country.

“We all know what Martinsville Speedway means to this community,” Hall said.

Speedway President Clay Campbell attended the meeting to accept the award that will be presented again during the October race.

Campbell said he appreciated the plaque, and accepted it “on behalf of the employees, the International Speedway Corp. and all the people” who regularly attend speedway races.

In other matters at their 6 p.m. meeting Tuesday, the supervisors:

• Heard a report on general highway matters from Lisa Hughes, resident engineer for the Virginia Department of Transportation (VDOT).

Hughes introduced David Kiserz as the new VDOT assistant resident engineer.


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