Pelham celebrates its ‘get it done’ mayor

Published 12:22 pm Thursday, October 16, 2008

One Christmas, Bobby Hayes made his community theatre debut in “The Nutcracker” as Mother Ginger and danced onto the Sugar Plum Fairy’s court — wig, makeup and all.

For many in Pelham, Hayes’ comical turn as Mother Ginger is one of many countless examples of one man’s love for his city.

A standing-room-only crowd lauded Hayes as the “get it done” mayor who “took Pelham from Mayberry to Raleigh” at a retirement reception Wednesday at the Pelham Civic Complex.

Sworn in as the city’s third mayor in 1984, Hayes, a former Birmingham police sergeant, has served six consecutive terms. Over Hayes’ 24-year career, Pelham has seen the expansion of its police and fire departments, education system, sewer and water system, recreational facilities and retail opportunities.

Hayes received several standing ovations as his long list of accomplishments were remembered.

“The city of Pelham is a better place today because of this mayor,” said City Revenue Director Mike Morgan, Hayes’ longtime friend. “He’s moving into a segment of his life he’s worked hard for through the years, and he’s going to enjoy it.”

Hayes and his wife, Judy, were showered with gifts for their years of service. The city’s department heads all chipped in to buy the couple a set of wooden rocking chairs with their names carved on the backs. The Pelham New Pioneers made Hayes a quilt. Crosscreek Television Productions of Alabaster presented a short video highlighting Hayes’ life and career.

Morgan presented Hayes with a Congressional tribute from U.S. Sen. Richard Shelby, and State Senators Hank Erwin and Jabo Waggoner presented a resolution in Hayes’ honor.

Pelham City Council President Karyl Rice furnished Hayes with membership cards to the Ballantrae Golf Club and Pelham Racquet Club, and Fire Chief Danny Endress presented Hayes a city retirement card.

“It’s hard to look at this and see ‘retired’ on it,” Endress said.

Pelham High School Principal Bob Lavett regarded Hayes as the Panthers’ constant cheerleader.

“Those kids love you and I know you love them,” Lavett told Hayes. “He is Pelham High School’s number one fan and no one’s going to unseat that.”

Shelby County Sheriff Chris Curry also had a few words.

“Thank you for your time, your counsel and the occassional attitude adjustments I’ve enjoyed,” Curry said to laughter from the audience.

Soon it was time for Hayes to take the podium. The father of three and grandfather of nine thanked his family and the people of Pelham for their support.

“I look around and see the people who have built this city to what it is. I can’t tell you how much we appreciate the friendships we have made and developed through the years,” Hayes said.

“It’s time to go home.”