First Black firefighter in Lanett honored

Published 11:00 am Friday, November 24, 2023

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LANETT — The Lanett City Council on Monday honored the memory of a long-time firefighter who recently passed away at 84 years of age. Jimmy Patton is thought to have been the first African-American firefighter employed by the city, and he was with the department for 25 years.

A proclamation of condolence read aloud at the meeting by Council Member Tony Malone noted that Patton was born in Chambers County on January 1, 1939 to Mrs. Ada Lynn Patton and Jimmy Patton Sr.

“Mr. Patton was very charismatic, had a great love for his family and also loved and cherished what his family referred to as ‘junk,’” the proclamation reads. “His prized possession was his little red Corvette. “

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“Mr. Patton served his country in the military as well as the citizens of Lanett for over 25 years as a firefighter,” the proclamation continued. “Retiring from the city on August 1, 1998, he is believed to be the first African-American to serve the city in this capacity.”

Patton passed away on Tuesday, November 7th.

“Be it resolved that the mayor and city council hereby extend their sincere wishes to his family,” the proclamation reads.” (They include) sister Jessie Mae, Vonzeka, Demarco, Jeffrey, Joey and Jennifer. We sincerely thank them for their sacrifice in having shared him with the citizens of Lanett for so many years.”

Receiving the proclamation on behalf of the family was Mr. Patton’s niece, Jennifer Cunningham, and his nephew, Vonzeka Patton.

In action taken at Monday’s council meeting, a resolution was approved for an agreement between the city and its wastewater treatment plant contractor, Clearwater Solutions. According to the agreement, Clearwater will provide the labor to manage, operate and maintain the plant and the city will compensate them for this. Clearwater has been under contract by the city for the past five years. The new contract supersedes the language of previous contracts.

The council approved a renewed contract with AVENU Insights & Analytics LLC (d.b.a. AVENU). for the service of business license discovery and recovery. This is an important service for the city in that the contractor discovers and recovers for the city revenue that would otherwise have been lost.

Another resolution was approved to renew its property and liability insurance coverage with the Alabama Municipal Insurance Corporation (AMIC), Montgomery.

A list of items in the historic Lanier High home economics building was declared surplus. These items include two tables, three stoves, and a washer and dryer. These items have been in the building for years and are not in good condition. A city representative selected by the mayor is authorized to dispose of these items.

The council unanimously approved a resolution allowing City Attorney Stanley Gray to seek an opinion from the Alabama attorney general on two specific questions. They include (1) Is the city required to install underground water lines on an owner’s property from a water service meter, which is located on the right of way to the owner’s building? and (2) Is the city responsible for paying for the cost to install underground water lines on the owner’s property from the water service meter on the city’s right of way to the owner’s building?

Mayor Jamie Heard invited  everyone to the city’s annual Christmas tree lighting. It will be taking place at 6 p.m. EST on Monday, December 4th. It’s sure to be fun for the entire family. Groups, choirs and soloists will be performing on a lighted stage. There will be a merry go round for children up to eight years of age along with bouncy houses, a gyro and a miniature train. Food vendors will be on site, and free popcorn and other goodies will be available. Santa Claus will arrive on a Lanett fire truck at 5:30.

The mayor thanked Melvin Floyd for recently leading a clean up effort in the West Shawmut community. He also thanked the Rev. Derrick Vines and the Tabernacle of Praise for recently having a clothing giveaway and for feeding over 200 people on a Saturday. Rev. Torrence Rudd and the Power Chapel of Ministry was commended for feeding the city’s first responders on a Friday.

The mayor and council members took turns in wishing everyone a safe and happy Thanksgiving weekend.

Heard expressed condolences to the family of Sanford Isom, who recently passed away. He was a former principal in the local school system.


FIREFIGHTER REMEMBERED — The Lanett City Council has honored the memory of a former Lanett firefighter, who passed away earlier this month. Jimmy Lee Patton was 84 years old. He retired from the Lanett Fire Department in 1998 after having served the department for 25 years. Receiving a mayor’s proclamation on behalf of the Patton family were his niece, Jennifer Cunningham, and nephew, Vonzeka Patton. From left, are Council Member Tony Malone, Cunningham and Patton, Mayor Jamie Heard and Lanett Fire & EMS Chief Johnny Allen.