Forrest County District 2 Supervisor Charles Marshall still has 46 more days of service to the people of the county before his final day on the job, Jan. 5, 2020. And you can bet those days will be filled with the same hard work and dedication he’s provided his constituents for the last 24 years.
Colleagues on the Board of Supervisors as well as employees from across the county honored Marshall’s service with an early retirement luncheon Monday.
It wasn’t something he was expecting just yet, but enjoyed just the same.
Board President David Hogan presented Marshall with a proclamation from the board, while soon-to-be retired Chancery Clerk Jimmy Havard presented him with a golf club.
“I hear you’re a much better supervisor than golfer,” Havard quipped.
Brad Scott, Veterans Service Officer for the county, presented Marshall with a wooden flag complete with military insignia representing Marshall’s service to his country in the U.S. Navy, Naval Reserve, Mississippi National Guard and active duty in Vietnam.
And there were lots of hugs and congratulations.
But Marshall won’t go to the house empty handed. He’s got quite a few accomplishments under his belt.
Marshall says his years of service to the people of Forrest County are unexplainable.
“It about like serving in the military; you have to have a heart for it,” he said. “If you don’t have a heart for this position, then there’s no need in you coming here.”
During his tenure, Marshall has worked with a lot of people. You’ve got a lot of people and gone from the smallest thing to the largest, from $1 to $37 million,” he said.
“There’s a lot of things you’re involved in and a lot of things you spend a lot of time working on, thinking about and trying to make the best decision that you possibly can,” he said. “And you always, always, before you make a decision, think about the people it’s going to affect.”
Marshall did that for every decision he ever made. And while it might not have been popular or in agreement with his fellow board members, he did what he felt was best for his constituents.
“And a lot of people don’t do that,” he said.
The list of successes the board had during Marshall’s time on the board is long, but he highlighted several, including:
• The Forrest County Multipurpose Center. “We moved it from Wade Kennedy to East Jerusalem Quarters then down to Sullivan Drive,” he said.
• The Forrest County Jail. “We got into court issues with the jail not being properly put together because of the federal government and we built a brand new jail. And we also received a grant to apply geo-thermal heating and cooling to the jail.”
• The Evelyn Gandy Parkway and the Warren Mott Parkway. “The Mott Parkway, which took care of Church Street, required working with Jones County in a plan we set in motion. Forrest County did the east end and Jones County the west. Of course we had to do all the land procurement for Jones County because we were here in Forrest County and knew the people – the ones who didn’t want to give up their property.”
• $300,000 put into a walking track in Rawls Springs;
• Numerous paving jobs all across the county as well as a lot of bridges. “We’ve got one going in across the Leaf River into Petal from Old River Ave/East Hardy, as well as a bridge going in at Archie Smith. We have plans, but don’t know when it’s coming, to build a brand new Glendale bridge.
• We finally got Monroe Road as a State Aid road all the way from Glendale to the Jones County line.
“We’ve done a lot of things,” Marshal said. “It was just one thing after another, but it was a pleasure. Most of the things were needed.”
Marshall has had a good working relationship with Mississippi’s Congressional delegation – Sen. Roger Wicker, Cindy Hyde-Smith and Benny Thompson, as well as Southern Transportation Director Tom King.
“I thank him for a lot of things we’ve done,” Marshall said. “That includes the $8,000 for lights at the new Gandy Parkway, Interstate 59 interchange that is currently under construction.
On Monday the board agreed to foot the $8,000 bill for the lights that will light that interchange, which as Marshall said, “are sorely needed. We need those lights very bad for the safety of people in Forrest County.”
And he didn’t forget about the school systems in the county, whether public, private or agriculture. “I have supported them the whole time I’ve been here.” Marshall has also been a strong voice in the 12 storm shelter facilities the board is having built across the county.
“So I think I’ve touched the lives of a lot of people from the young all the way to the old.”
His plans for after Jan. 5?
“I’ve been telling people I wasn’t going to do anything for awhile, because after 27 years at Hercules and doing rotating shift work and then being in the Guard and serving in Vietnam and putting on that uniform for 30-something years, it’s time to rest.”
His wife, Cassandra, is a retired school teacher.
“All we’ve got now is to take care of kids and grandkids and I plan to do that.”
Rod Woullard –“ When I came Charles was already here. I can remember some of my first experiences, some things didn’t go right and he would come into the room and remind me, ‘You are a supervisor, just like everybody else. None of us have any more authority than the other.’ Then he got ready to walk out and added, ‘But it takes three votes to get anything done.’
So that was my first lesson, ‘Remember you have to be able to count to three.’
Woullard and Marshall got to church together where they are members of Shady Grove Baptist Church. Woullard’s brother is currently the pastor and Woullard’s father before that.
“So we are one of the few churches who had two county supervisors,” he said.
“ I followed Charles career for a long time. I remember when he played baseball and stuff down at Black Sox Park. He has always been a great athlete. And I have all the respect and admiration in the world for him. “
David Hogan – Charles Marshall’s leadership will be sorely missed on the Forrest County Board of Supervisors. His honesty, his straight forwardness, he’s beholden to no one but the citizens of Forrest County.
“When I first came on the board, I looked to him for mentoring and he gladly gave himself and taught this young, newly-elected supervisor the ins and outs of being a good leader and I appreciate that on a personal side from him. He took his time to help train and teach me the ropes, so to speak. And he’s been a great supervisor for all citizens of Forrest County. We’ll miss him being on the board.”
Chris Bowen – “He’s been my moral and ethical accomplice and he’s been a workhorse and when you combine those three things you can’t ask for anything better out of a colleague.”
Burkett Ross – “Charles has been a very, very, very nice man to work with and it’s been an honor to serve with him. We will miss him dearly, no doubt. He was always thinking about the people and what’s the right thing to do. When I first got here I didn’t know which key to punch and I asked him, ‘Charles, what do you think?’ and he’d give me advice and I appreciated that to help make me a better supervisor. When I didn’t know about some things , he always knew and I certainly appreciated that. I’ll wish him nothing but the best in his retirement and I hope he won’t be a stranger up here.”