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Wilson seeking photos for display of past mayors

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Vader City Council Member Andy Wilson holding a timeline of the past mayors of Vader as well as a framed portrait from when he held the position. Wilson is hoping to collect photos of other mayors for a display at City Hall helping to tell the history of the city's leadership.

Long-time Vader city official Andy Wilson has begun a project to memorialize the past mayors of Vader, going all the way back to the city's origin in 1906.

Presented during the Vader City Council's regular meeting on Thursday, Wilson shared how he has been able to compile information on all 31 men and women who have served in the position and is hoping to collect photographs of each for a display in City Hall.

"I've always wanted to do this," said Wilson, who himself served as mayor between 1996 and 1999, and again in 2003.

Wilson said he was able to complete his research with the help of many members of the community and currently has a framed timeline of all Vader's mayors, from first mayor W.R. Dilley (1906-1908), to first female mayor Yvonne Johnston (1991-1993), and longest-serving mayor L.R. Bemis, who served 16 years total between 1935 and 1939, and again between 1941 and 1953.

Along with the timeline, Wilson has a framed picture of himself and a number of empty frames waiting to be filled.

"If you know of anybody," he said, "your great-grandparents or your great-great-grandparents, that may have a picture, we could make an 8.5 x 10 inch photo and put it up."

Of the conversations he has had so far with family members of past mayors, Wilson said he believes he will be able to begin the display with around a dozen photographs, and will continue to search out more as time goes on.

"It's at least a start," he said.

After Wilson's presentation, current Mayor Ken Smith thanked him for his efforts to create the display, mentioning the current City Hall building had been constructed during Wilson's term and with much of Wilson's personal efforts and resources.

"To me," said Smith, "it's only appropriate that there be some historical remembrance of [Wilson's] contribution."

Those who may have information related to the history of past mayors or pictures available for the display may call City Hall at (360) 295-3222.

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